Mission Motors Keeps Moving: All-Electric Bike Tops 150MPH


We first introduced TriplePundit readers to San Francisco-based Mission Motors back in February after the quintessential whiz-kid start-up unveiled the Mission One motorcycle at the TED conference in Long Beach (and followed-up this summer after it raced at the TTXGP carbon-free grand prix).

The Mission One is ostensibly a high-performance, all-electric motorcycle, but it really is more than that. Like any great entrepreneurial start-ups, it begins with a vision. As we said back in February, that vision for founders Forrest North, Edward West, and Mason Cabot is to show the world that high-performance and cutting edge design need not be mutually exclusive with sustainability. If you think that you need to putter about town on a scooter in order to have a clean machine, the Mission One is out to prove you wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, like the Tesla (for whom North once worked), it doesn’t come cheap. You’d likely not get a Mission One just to tool about town. But the idea is to push boundaries, break new ground, and blaze a path for others to follow.

And earlier this month the Mission One pushed another boundary on the salt flats of Utah.

The Mission One at BonnevilleMission Motors announced today that the Mission One “superbike” has claimed the national American Motorcycle Association top speed record for an electric motorcycle, achieving a 150.059 mph two-pass average run sustained for one mile at Bonneville Speedway on September 1st, 2009. In test runs for the record the Mission One topped out at 161 mph for one-way stretches of the course.

The record was made at the annual BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials at the Bonneville Speedway, about 90 west of Salt Lake City. The speed trials offers a venue for setting national and world records for contenders in many classes. The Mission One bested 70% of the gasoline-powered entrants.

“I give the credit for this achievement to our extraordinary engineering team,” said Edward West. “We set this record on our first visit to the Bonneville Salt Flats on poor salt conditions and in high cross-winds. And to set it with our production prototype vehicle, not a custom Bonneville bike is truly amazing. We’ve all known what was possible for the Mission One for some time, and to set this record is very gratifying. It’s a watershed moment for electric vehicles and further proof that the era of the electric superbike has begun. Electric is no longer the future of high-performance motorcycling; it is the present.”

mission2The team has worked hard to achieve this latest milestone, learning from problems encountered at the TTXGP in June (yet still making a strong showing, coming in 4th in a field of 13), intent on pushing the boundaries of what is possible in street-legal, zero-emission, all-electric motorcycle – and what is now the fastest all-electric production bike in the world.

“The Mission One is just an incredible motorcycle,” said Jeremy Cleland, the AMA and AFM racer who shares duties as both Product Manager and Test Rider at Mission Motors. “This is a bike that can rip up the track at Infineon Raceway, do power wheelies at 80 mph, and then come out here to Bonneville and dismantle the prior electric world speed record. It pulls hard all the way from 0 on up to 161mph, all in one gear, with incredible torque. It’s a riding experience like no other. The important thing to understand is this is not a one-off race vehicle, this is a production prototype. It is the same bike that we raced at the Isle of Man and features the same powertrain that we will be delivering to our customers in 2010.”

The company is selling 300 Mission One electric motorcycles in the 2010 model year, with the first 50 Premier Limited Edition models available for reservation now.


Tom is the founder, editor, and publisher of GlobalWarmingisReal.com and the TDS Environmental Media Network. He has been a contributor for Triple Pundit since 2007. Tom has also written for Slate, Earth911, the Pepsico Foundation, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, and many other sustainability-focused publications. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists

3 responses

  1. Very cool stuff, speaking as a fan of things that go fast.

    But from an environmental point of view, isn’t there something a bit fishy here? As I understand the relevant physics, for any object with mass to go really fast, it has to expend a lot of energy. Energy has to come from somewhere. The Mission One may be “zero emissions” at the tailpipe, so to speak, but depending where it’s charging its batteries, it’s highly unlikely that it’s truly “zero emissions”…most electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels? I realize that’s not exactly news. But my point is that, while (I suspect) fast *electric* motorcycles are, yes, going to be more environmentally sound than fast gas-burning motorcycles, isn’t the whole going-fast thing (for a what’s supposed to be a consumer product) always going to be problematic?

    I *am* attracted to the whole “proof of concept” thing, and the idea that breaking a record draws attention to the whole notion of electric vehicles. But really, do production models need to go 150 mph?


  2. Chris, there is a huge infrastructure abuilding developing alternative power sources – all of which transform wind, waves, tides, sunlight, and so on into electricity. The Mission Motors bike adds to the market for both electricity generation and for more advanced battery technology. This adds to the demand, which necessarily reduces the fruition time.

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