Mission RS: The Electric Superbike of the Future


land-speed records are great for headlines and it’s nice to know where the boundaries lie but it’s far more relevant to say how you get to that speed and how you you utilize that power for a questionably long period of time conventional energy has fueled and dominated the vehicle world but what if a new player a challenger emerged what if electric could finally outrun gas hey this is Toby from motherboard we’re in Brooklyn New York about to go meet up with the mind behind mission motorcycles the guys who have created the fastest and most advanced electric motorcycle on the market today we’re going to chat about electric motorcycles electric vehicles and see whether what they’re up to is really a game-changer electric motorcycles and electric bikes in general not unlike electric cars have had a history of starts and stops commercial electric cars have been around since 1909 and it’s a phenomenal vehicle for 114 years ago the Baker electric runabout the last for bicycles and motorcycles the compromises have just been simply too great range speed weight and cost it’s all in the last 10 years that a lot of those different parameters have gotten back in mind so that it’s possible to design and create a product that actually is something people are willing to buy at a price that they’re willing to pay ten years ago you would have said hey I’ve got an electric car that would have been cool I wasn’t really the case ten years ago as we move towards this electric vehicle future consumers have to embrace the good and the bad of the electric vehicles because there’s a lot of really strong attractions about it but there’s also some downsides we waited to bring this bike out when the time was right when the the products we could commercialize produce at scale we’re going to be better than the state of the art of today and so our motivating factor is to make the motorcycle industry better we want to make better motorcycles on the earth today . that’s what it’s about the argument is less I don’t think you can build it the argument is more I don’t think you can build it in a way that I want to ride it motorcycles are all about performance that’s why we buy them an electric powertrain provides that far better than a gas engine we have 160 horsepower motor which ended of itself is fairly unheard of 120 foot pounds of torque available instantly at the rear wheel that’s definitely unheard of our powertrain is a lot more reliable a lot simpler to build believe it or not a lot lower cost to build because we’re only building a smaller pieces of metal that fit together in simpler ways a normal bikes drivetrain is complicated with Pistons spinning up to 14,000 rpms and a transmission to transfer power the mission motorcycle is much simpler with a battery-powered electric motor sending torque directly to the rear wheel there’s no clutching there’s no shifting there’s no chance of stalling the motor you don’t you have to start the motor all you do is literally twist and go one of the challenges that all motorcycle manufacturers face is how do we engage this next generation of motorcycles how do we create a lifestyle it speaks to them it resonates with them the operation system we call it mission LS and it’s a primary way you interface with the body it’s your standard gauge cluster but it has sort of anchors of functionality that you then frankly should come to expect we have you know turn-by-turn navigation and Google Maps we capture all your data your throttle position your lean angle your speed but also your location time of day and all these other things we overlaid on a Google map so that you can analyze your rides in exquisite detail what we need to do is create a solid foundation as we move forward and build the market build the charging stations out there so people as we move beyond the early adopters new buyers they won’t be blocked by this range anxiety issue that you’re about tradition runs deep in the motorcycle world to see how an old-school gearhead responds to an all-electric bike we visit works engineering in Brooklyn New York so what do you ride on a day-to-day basis I ride 2,000 Suzuki sv650 it’s cheap it’s reliable and it’s good for round town if four is one of these just landed in your lap can you see adding it to the mix being something fun that you’d like to try it I don’t think so it’s just so easy to get gas like once a week or so and not have to worry about it and being able to go anywhere in charge right now in 2013 I don’t see it really fitting into my life that well so basically your concern would be essentially it would be tricky to find an outlet somewhere yeah right now yeah and the time it takes to charge would just be a limiting factor well with that in mind would you like to take it for a take it for a test drive absolutely the real culprit for the the death of the electric cars in the 1990s was the battery the batteries were still very expensive they were still very bulky but now finally in 2013 we are getting better batteries and they’re going to continue to improve not having to shift gears in traffic like I was just writing in is super convenient having enough clientele coming through over the years seeing like different folks come and getting the bikes fixed can you see a market for it anything that make this a little bit more comfortable in the city and you’ve got a great really good city bike will do thanks for thanks your time and taking it for a test drive there all your perspective really appreciated our recharge times are pretty good we’ve got an onboard charger that’s a 10 kilowatt charger that’s the same as the highest end commercial electric cars have that means you can charge in about an hour we also have technology built in the battery packs that allow us to charge them in about 10 minutes we have things like range of 140 miles combined cycle on the highway 230 mile range in the city so that’s as good or better than a gas tank you’re looking at about a dollar 50 to the dollar 80 cents per per full charge so per 140 miles of range significantly less than the trip to the gas station it’s about an order of magnitude less the question of how we move forward requires a lot of players to be involved on the policy side you have federal policy of California policy you have industry you know they’re all trying to find their niche they’re trying to find a strategic approach but in the end it’s all about consumers we have to vote with our dollars that’s how electric vehicles are going to be successful in the end when you’re doing a paradigm shift in an industry you’re going to face hurdles and Washington hurdles in the market the more people that incrementally break those barriers down it helps everybody really electricity and hydrogen are the key they’ve got to succeed they truly can be zero emission we can make them from renewable energy no more fossil energy don’t have to require a lot of land that’s the future I’m very hopeful we’ll get there someday I just hope it’s not too late after checking out and driving the electric super bike in the city and discussing potential urban limitations we’ve hadded three hours north of New York to put the mission our s to the journey can you tell us who you are and where on earth we are we’re in real a safety track right now my name is Greg with menisci have you had a chance to experience an electric motorcycle yet never never read about him heard of them but this is actually the first time that I’m actually seeing one and testing it in person to where you feel those excitement is it kind of like are you an old school guy who’s concerned about the emergence of something new fangled no no man it’s all about progression nowadays and this is something that it’s not only interesting it’s it’s the future you have a lot more power delivery a lot more torque and it’s instantly available you don’t have the torque curves that look like s shapes or Mountain hilltops you have a flat torque curve that means that no matter what speed you’re at you get a full stance taller or very high speed you have the exact same power available just at the twist of the throttle you also don’t need a transmission so your focus more on your ride quality the end the riding experience then the overhead of controlling vehicle that throttle is pure power unfortunately it doesn’t have wings I want to take off on that thing it’s a very unique and exhilarating experience and one that’s frankly difficult for us to articulate and so you you see a lot of the reviews try to try to explain what a really feels like what it feels like is something that accelerates faster than anything you’ll probably get a chance to ride in your life very well yeah all right so after a couple days of shooting learning about how this bike drives in the city and then seeing a bunch of pros we’ve been riding their entire lives on tracks I am now going to ride it at what would be referred to as a leisurely pace hopefully not embarrass myself or test the limits of our insurance painful you have no concept of how fast you’re going whatsoever when you’re moving the bike disappears the road disappears and like it’s it’s the closest I’ve ever felt to flying while still being connected to the ground I think the ebike industry in the next year is going to be a very exciting place ten years from now you’re going to see most new bikes being electric we hope that what we’re doing is paving the way for a lot of other people to do the same things we’re doing if not better that’s that’s better for everyone