Long-Term Mission?

mmlMission has announced their R and RS warranty:

  • 2 year/unlimited mileage “nose to tail” (can’t really say bumper to bumper, can we?)
  • Plus 6 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty

Let’s read between these lines.  Mission began as EV consultants, never selling to the public.  The (one?) rideable units were rolling ads for their expertise and tech portfolio.  Relatively recently, as highway vehicles go, they took the plunge, developing the R/RS for retail sale.

It now makes sense that they offer an “industry-defining” (their words) powertrain warranty, but modest vehicle coverage.  Mission had years to work on electric drives, and this one in particular, but is starting from scratch on production setups and processes, numerous suppliers, approvals, and… a dealer network.  Yeah, that little thing.

In the cage world, a new model is around three years for the Japanese, longer for the Big Three.  And that’s from big companies, established around a century ago.  Mission on the other hand is arguably a startup.  Granted, motorcycles require less testing (e. g., crash, cold weather) and, here, no emissions requirements.  Still, they are under the burden of breaking into an established market, with established Big Movers (*cough* Honda).  Tesla took years to actually deliver a Model S to a paying customer, and that’s with the Roadster as an evolutionary step (*cough* Lotus Elise).

Mission thus had to get crafty.  While I’ll certainly give them a hand for problem solving, I expect a lot of customers will be using that warranty.  Like Tesla, Mission eased into the industry.  Where Mission worked as consultants, seeing other people’s setups along the way, Tesla began with the Lotus chassis, and intellectual properties and staffers hired from around the industry.  Like Tesla, Mission will first sell a low-volume, niche product. Where Tesla had the Roadster (how many people live with a 2-seater?), Mission will start with the RS model.  At $60,000, you can guess the type of person to own one… notice I didn’t say ride one.  You don’t take a $60,000 bike in the sleet and slush.  Heck, you don’t take it out in warm June rain.  Or if you do, you know what you’re getting into and/or have another $60,000 to blow, no big deal.  At a minimum, a person who buys a $60,000 bike has a grocery getter, and can leave the bike in the garage at will.

Only after the RS model has been sold and manufactured will Mission deliver $30,000 R units.  This would give them some breathing room, for streamlining and accelerating production, and fixing any bugs discovered on the way.  This may not matter to you, slush or no slush, but it keeps the company running.  Mission has hinted that a follow-on product is to come after the R.  If nothing else, this video shows president Mark Seeger hinting that new battery packs are coming.  EVs are progressing rapidly; the person who spends $60,000 or even $30,000 on bikes will likely want to stay ahead of the game as new technologies keep hitting the street.

In Mission’s favor, they have used consultants themselves, and again motorcycles are somewhat easier beasts than cages.  Mission paid chassis and tuning experts to refine the demo vehicles, let alone the production R and RS.  They didn’t throw together a Pod Racer in a Tatooine backwoods.  Meanwhile, the battery size and drivetrain power level, even at superbike speeds, turn out to be comparable to a cage.  By not dragging around steel, glass, passenger benches and a trunk, let alone double the rolling resistance, the stats for a brutal bike are those of a compact car.  This is how a 900cc motorcycle beats a 3-liter cage.

To Mission’s detriment, race consultants generally don’t have the practical, everyday knowledge of a factory supervisor.  Similarly, there are lots of fine details and legwork that accompany any redesign, whether or not it’s like some cage drivetrain.  The practical knowledge and attention to detail typically come after mistakes, mistakes found after the factory is already set up and possibly, already running for months to years.  Again, note that the Model S is not as refined as a BMW or Mercedes, even after years of Tesla operations.  I don’t expect Mission to do better in less than one year of actual production.

Finally, like Tesla, Mission is trying an end-run around dealership logistics.  To a certain extent, Mission will deliver to your door, and send technicians to the field, rather than rely on hordes of fast-talkers who may or may not actually know what they’re talking about.  Tesla is still finding that they need a network of “showrooms” and service garages, but under tighter control than a chain of franchises like other brands.  Mission is about to find out what works, or doesn’t, in the more discretionary motorcycle world.  Motorcycle work happens to be handier than cage work [Porsche owners nod in agreement].

Upshot: I’m pretty sure the drivetrain will destroy other bikes, but… I’m pretty sure you should have a grocery getter just in case.


2 thoughts on “Long-Term Mission?

  1. Pingback: Buncha Lightweights! | cableflux

  2. Pingback: Words Fail… Because They’re Words | cableflux

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s