The Tesla Model S has become the star of the electric cars, and Tesla announced recently that it has sold 22 450 units in 2013. The Model S is already available all over the world, and Tesla’s charismatic leader, Elon Musk, makes sure that the buzz around the car isn’t abating.
It would be great if an electric motorcycle manufacturer could create the same buzz and success. At this point, the most likely candidate seems to be Mission Motorcycles.
RideApart, a web portal for motorcycle enthusiasts, recently named the Mission RS the 2014 Motorcycle of the Year (not just among electric motorcycles, but among all motorcycles). The Mission RS is an electric bike made by a team of young electro-techies in San Francisco. With its 17 kWh lithium battery, it can reach a max speed of 150 mph from its 163 hp motor, and has a real world range of 140 miles. Prices start at $58,999, and if you add the GP Package, it will cost you $74,999! But according to RideApart, it is the best bike ever.
A cheaper version, the Mission R, will start at $32,499 with a 12 kWh battery, and will also be available with a 15 or 17 kWh battery. Deliveries should start this summer, with production of the RS version limited to 40 units.
It looks a lot like the strategy used by Tesla, which sold the first Model S in a limited high-end version, before releasing the cheaper versions. Like Tesla with its car, Mission Motors is re-inventing the motorcycle and trying to beat the established Japanese and European manufacturers.
And as Tesla a few years ago, Mission Motorcycles just went through some growing pains: one of the three founders left the company and is now suing his former partners. This is nothing unusual among young start-ups in the San Francisco area.
Of course it is now up to Mission Motorcycles to execute, and release its new motorcycle on time and then scale up production. Hopefully they can also create a buzz so that the electric motorcycle can finally be perceived as a real alternative to the traditional gas-powered bikes.