If Tesla could revolutionise the car industry, who can possibly do the same for the motorcycling world?
One strong contender is Mission Motorcycles, the San Francisco-based company behind the $US30,000 R, an all-electric bike that goes from 0 to 60 mph in a stunning 2.7 seconds.
Although technical challenges abound and cultural images of motorcycles don’t exactly overlap with the appeal of eco-friendly power, Mission believes electricity is the way forward.
We spoke with Mark Seeger, CEO of Mission Motorcycles (and, full disclosure, a personal friend of mine — though I don’t invest in his company nor do I plan to buy one of his bikes) to find out why he believes the all-electric motorcycle can sell.
The key factor is superior performance. Mission’s motorcycles, Seeger claimed, “are designed to outperform gasoline superbikes like the Ducati Panigale R, BMW S100RR, and MV Augusta F4 in a head-to-head show down. Better acceleration, better control, better range.”
This is the best time for electric motorcycles to enter the market, he said, as “the technology of burning hydrocarbons is going the way of the steam engine.”
Here’s a look at the Mission R, the bike that could spark a shift toward electric power in the motorcycle industry.
The Mission R leads other all-electric motorcycles with the best overall performance. And it more than holds its own against gas-powered bikes.
It runs from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds. That’s better acceleration than any other commercially-available motorcycle ever built, and perhaps the clearest signal to gas-powered brands that they have serious competition. The R can hit 150 mph, with a range of about 140 miles on the highway and 230 miles in the city.
The dash display on the Mission R, similar to the Tesla’s all-digital design, has its own in-house-designed software for rider control and navigation. It comes with turn-by-turn GPS navigation, internet connectivity, and a motion-stabilised HD camera to record your ride.
The Mission R takes less than 2 hours to fully charge on a 220V outlet. Most all-electric motorcycles need over 8 hours to do the same, even though they have less kilowatt-hour capacity.
The top of the line model will cost you a cool $US40,000 (after a $US2,500 federal subsidy). For $US30,000, you can also get one with less battery capacity, plus a 10-year warranty.
$40,000 is no spare change. So we asked CEO Mark Seeger (below, with his German shepherd Huska) if he has plans, similar to Tesla’s, to introduce a cheaper model in the future.
He says we should come back in four years, when he plans to introduce a “motorcycle that outperforms our current Mission R, at a price well below $US17,000.” We’re certainly looking forward to that.
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