Clean Transport

Published on August 7th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Is The Mission RS The Tesla Model S Of Electric Motorcycles?

August 7th, 2013 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

mission rs motorcycle

Mission RS Motorcycle
Credit: Mission Motorcycles

I recently saw a headline calling the Mission RS from Mission Motorcycles the “Tesla of Electric Motorcycles.” There are actually a handful of electric motorcycle companies out there. Zero Motorcycles, Brammo, and Lito Green Motion come to mind. So, which one is the “Tesla of electric motorcycles?”

Frankly, I’m not enough of a motorcycle expert to know.

Wes Siler of Wired and Ride Apart seems to think the Mission RS is the Model S of the motorcycle world. He writes:

Until now, there has been no motorcycling equivalent. Too many electric bikes are little more than two-wheeled appliances, while others flip the price to performance ratio that makes motorcycling so appealing.

The Mission RS changes that. It does for electric motorcycles what Tesla did for electric cars.

“Many on our team brought experience from Tesla,” says Seeger. “There, you’re looking at paradigm-shifting technology, but the consumer doesn’t care, because it’s simply a better product. Apple did the same thing: The iPhone brought all new technology, but the effect was simply a better phone.”

We’ve been waiting for the “iPhone moment” of electric bikes. It’s finally here. The $58,999 Mission RS promises to be that better product. Not just because it’s electric, but because it aims to perform better than any motorcycle that’s come before it.

A motorcycle’s performance is evaluated in numbers, so it’s time to get stuck in. The Mission RS makes 160 horsepower and 120-pound-feet of torque, and comes in at 540 pounds. Compare that to the fastest production motorcycle out there — the Ducati 1199 Panigale R — and the Mission has about 35 fewer ponies, but 22-lb-ft more torque. But it’s saddled with 126 pounds over the 1199. So it should be slower right? Well … No.

A motorcycle’s performance is also evaluated on subjective factors like feel. And, because they’ve gotten so fast (the Ducati will hit 202 MPH if given half a mile or so to do it, whereas the mission is restricted to 150 MPH), it’s actually the subjective that ends up mattering most, because it’s what allows us humans to actually manage all that performance.

And on the subjective, the Mission excels. Unlike a gas bike, there’s no heavy, reciprocating parts jumping around thousands of times per minute. That inertial mass inherent to internal combustion blunts both feedback and turning speed. The vibrations created by all those tiny explosions get in the way of the communication between you and the tires and brakes, while the momentum of the pistons, crank, and gears resists both throttle inputs and steering inputs. Free of all that, the Mission is remarkably better at informing the rider’s inputs, then responding more immediately and transparently to them.

Mission RS

Hmm, sounds pretty convincing so far. Read the full piece over on Wired for more details and commentary on why Wes thinks the Mission RS is the Model S of electric motorcycles.

Motorcycle experts (if we have any here) — want to chime in with a vote of affirmation or one of contention?

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • anderlan

    Is the Telsa Model S the Mission RS of Electric Motorcycles? I know a little typo can be a good attention grabber, but that title is hurting my brain and I beg you soulfully to fix it.

  • Michael Kostukov

    For $60,000? Do you realize you can get a base Model S for that amount? Get a luxury sports family sedan or a motorcycle for the SAME price? Hmm… let me think 🙂

    • Richard Gozinya

      You also have to factor in that the Tesla’s nowhere near as advanced as the Mission RS, there really isn’t anything in existence that is. The Model S is on par with an Audi A7, so its price and performance figures work in the market segment. The RS is their upscale, limited edition model. Has some suspension and wheel upgrades. It’s also limited to 40 units.

      The $30,000 R model would be a far better comparison. It’s on par with a similarly priced Ducati Panigale R. It’s still an apples and oranges comparison, one’s a really nice sedan, the other’s a high performance motorcycle.

  • RobS

    $60,000…for a motorcycle….no It’s not going to be the model S of eBikes a that price.

    EV’s are a fine balance between, cost, range, styling and performance. The Mission RS performs well on three but is so far out of reasonable for a motorcycle on the cost metric that I can’t see it catching on in any serious way.

    The Zero at $16,000 with 137 city miles and 82 combined city/highway miles is a far more likely contender, with a better balance of cost, range, styling and performance. It is already getting rave reviews in motorbike magazines, changing the minds of skeptical reviewers. It is also getting significant fleet interest with several major Police forces around the world putting in fleet orders.

    • Richard Gozinya

      Except for the fact that the Zero will get its butt handed to it by any late model 650 twin in every performance metric.

  • ericpruss

    The headline (as of 5:53pm EST 7 August 2013): “Is the Mission RS the Telsa Model S of Electric Vehicles?”

    No… the Tesla Model S is the Tesla Model S of electric vehicles whilst the Mission RS is the Mission RS of Electric Vehicles.

    Might want to more carefully review what you are writing, especially your headlines. LOL! 🙂

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