Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mission One Electric Superbike Revealed

Be it bike tests, feature stories or racing reports Madson is just glad to be one of the 3% who found a career using their English degree. He rides whatever’s in the MCUSA garage - just don’t ask him to wheelie.

Mission One
The Mission One claims a top speed of 150mph and range of 150 miles, amazing performance numbers for an electric motorcycle design.
For Mission Motors it’s all about the number 150. The Bay Area motorcycle start up has gained instant notoriety in the two-wheeled world with its unveiling of the Mission One electric superbike, making incredible performance claims of 150mph top speed and 150-mile range.

The creator of Mission One is Forrest North, who founded Mission Motor Company after leaving the Tesla Roadster electric car project. Formerly known as Hum Cycles, Mission Motor has rebranded with the debut of its new design, taking its name from its office location on San Francisco’s Mission Street.

Battery technology has been the hindrance of performance and range in previous electric rides, but it would seem that Mission has found a solution with its high-energy Lithium-Ion units. The secret to the impressive power claims may come from sheer battery quantity, as photos from the Mission Motor website ( show the exterior bodywork houses a tubular frame chassis that is practically bulging with battery packs.

The battery power juices a liquid-cooled, three-phase AC induction motor, which Mission PR describes as “about the size of a soccer ball.” A chain drive is visible, which will transfer the immediate 100 lb-ft of torque produced by the electric mill. The electric drivetrain requires no gearbox, clutch or exhaust.

But before the lofty 150 gets branded into consumer brains, it is worth noting those claims are listed on the spec sheet under “target performance.“ Making us wonder what the current real-world performance numbers are for the Mission One (we are eagerly awaiting official word from Mission representatives).

Mission One
The Mission One was designed by fuseproject's Yves Behar.
Still, the claims shatter conventional performance and range limitations in other electric motorcycle designs – displaying the incredible potential of the electric drivetrain in a motorcycle application.

Befitting the Mission One’s high-tech credentials is wireless data acquisition, enabling riders to download and tune their ride via wireless laptop connection. There will be some wires required, however, as the Mission One will need to be recharged – taking “under 2 Hours @ 240V (8 Hours @ 120V).” The cost to “fill-up” the new ride from full empty will be a scant $1.96 – a claim made by Mission based off California energy prices.

Of course, the big to-do about electric vehicles are their pollution and CO2-reducing ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) benefits. Even sourcing fossil-fuel powerplants (mostly coal in the US), the efficiency of an electric motor is far greater than internal combustion – thus reducing C02 emissions.

Like many battery-powered vehicles, the Mission One enhances its already high efficiency by taking advantage of regenerative braking, capturing otherwise wasted kinetic energy on deceleration. There is an extra wrinkle in the Mission design, however, as the regenerative braking is tunable by the rider.

Mission One
Will the Mission One live up to its 150 claims? Potential owners can drop $5K and reserve a limited-edition version to find out.
The remaining specs live up the Mission One’s high-performance claims. Fully adjustable Ohlins suspension, front and rear. Brembo brakes, with dual 310mm discs and radial-mount four-piston calipers up front. Forged aluminum Marchesini wheels. The interesting styling of the Mission One, designed by Yves Behar of fuseproject, certainly make it look like something capable of 150mph.

Mission is currently taking reservations for the “Premier Limited Edition of the Mission One” on their website. A $5000 fee will get you on the list for a 2010 Mission One. No final price is yet listed.

Stay tuned for further developments of the Mission One and other electric designs here at Motorcycle USA.