High Voltage! Mission’s latest electric motorcycle is good for 160 mph
Last Friday, Mission Motors of San Francisco, California, revealed its “Mission R” electric-powered racing motorcycle at the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show.
As you can see from the photographs, this machine uses the high-level brake, wheel and suspension technology you’d expect to find on a roadracing motorcycle. The difference is that Mission R’s 141-hp powerplant is a liquid-cooled, three-phase AC induction electric motor, its energy supplied by a Lithium-ion battery of 14,400-watt-hour storage capacity. Top speed is given as “over 160 mph.”
As we all know, battery-energy storage capacity is the only element preventing electric motorcycles from being instantly more than competitive with their internal-combustion cousins. It is the current state of battery technology, for example, that limits TTXGP bikes to one lap of the 37-mile Isle of Man course. Patience!
The Mission R’s EVT motor power supply allows custom tailoring of regenerative braking and throttle-to-thrust curves. Smooth adaptation of power to available traction and the solution of the engine-braking problem have been what MotoGP is about since its inception in 2002, and electric drive allows those tasks to be accomplished to far higher accuracy, and at extreme speed. Why? Because the torque of an electric motor is extremely smooth to begin with, entirely free of the torque peaks and dips of a highly tuned internal-combustion engine. And because electronic control takes place at essentially the speed of light, rather than at the speed of a stepper motor on the throttle linkage. Data connectivity—an important link in working toward a good setup—is by either WiFi or 3G.
I’m not saying that all problems of motorcycle control are solved now and forever, but rather that a better solution is within reach for high-powered electric motorcycles like the Mission R.
Drive is single-ratio through a gear primary and chain secondary, and the AC electric motor is liquid-cooled. All electric motors generate resistive and magnetic hysteresis heat in operation. If this heat is not removed, the motor can become hot enough to put its wire insulation at risk. Active cooling is therefore provided. A claimed torque output of 115 ft.-lb. is available from zero to 6400 motor-shaft rpm.
The chassis design is by James Parker (of “RADD” fame), and it employs the motor as a stressed member and the carbon-fiber battery case as a semi-stressed member; c-f is electrically conductive, so the case has an insulating liner. The battery is said to have a “swappable architecture,” which we can take to mean that rapid battery changes are possible.
Aerodynamics and exterior styling are by Tim Prentice of Motonium Design, Inc., and emphasize low frontal area. I think you will agree that this is one the most attractive electric bikes to appear thus far, with none of the “droopy-drawers” looks of some of the others. Though no weight is stated, it is probably considerable—the necessary result of the present state of battery design.
says that the R “will lead the company’s upcoming 2011 racing program,” including the TTXGP series and other races for renewable-energy motorcycles.