SF company showcases electric motorcycle

June 2, 2009 7:56:52 PM PDT
You hear a lot about electric cars these days, but one San Francisco company is hoping to make their mark on the electric motorcycle scene and they are putting it out for the world to see.

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With a top speed of 150 miles an hour, the mission motors electric motorcycle is fast. This company video show's a recent test at the Infineon Raceway.

Electric motorcycles aren't new -- they are actually popular in Asia, but can only go a short distance on a single charge.

Founded in 2007 by three engineers, San Francisco-based Mission Motors has set out to remake the electric motorcycle landscape.

"Generally you really couldn't go on the freeway with them, so we wanted to make something that could compete head to head a gasoline motorcycle," said Mission Motors CEO Forrest North.

A lot of people think gas-powered motorcycles are a greener choice than cars because they use less fuel.

But California's air resources board says those motorcycles actually put out 10 times more pollution than cars.

Mission Motors bike produces no pollution thanks to high capacity batteries. In fact, you can get nearly 150 miles on a single charge.

"What we saw was that motorcycles gave an opportunity to make, not only a sexy product but something that could really highlight the performance of an electric vehicle," said North.

From how it looks, to how it handles the road, the Mission One motorcycle is unlike any other.

"This is the first motorcycle of its kind that allows you to have all of that performance that you want as a motorcyclist as well as be kind to the environment," said Mission Motors VP of Engineering Mason Cabot. "The big differences are the delivery of torque - it just comes on at the start - you've always got torque available and you are always in the right gear, there's no shifting."

That's right -- no clutch and no shifter. The bike does whatever you need automatically.

Cabot says that makes for a whole new riding experience.

"When you lose and strip away the sound of the gas motor you suddenly begin to hear the other things - you hear the road - you hear the other drivers on the road," said Cabot.

Mission motors is taking reservations for the limited edition bike. There will only be 50 Mission One bikes delivered in 2010. At nearly $69,000, the bikes aren't cheap.

"We believe that starting with the luxury justifies the technology costs it also allows us to get best technology out there and build the brand and show the world what electric vehicles can do," said North.

And that's just what they will do on June 12th. That's when the mission one will hit the Isle of Man TT race. One of the world's premier motorcycle races. It's a international showcase for the San Francisco start up who hopes to bring their bike to highways closer to home soon.

"Initially our aim is to move down into commuter vehicles something someone could drive to work commute. At a price point they can afford and will save them money in the long run," said North.

It takes as little as two-and-a-half hours to charge a mission one motorcycle. The company hopes to bring a lower priced model to market within a couple years.

Written and produced by Ken Miguel.

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