When Mission Motors first came out of stealth mode, they used the slogan “The World’s Fastest Electric Production Sportbike”, and quoted a top speed of a 150 mph. It seems only logical then, that the company would have to back that claim up at some point, and apparently that time is now.
Last week we showed you a simple YouTube video entitled: “Electric Motorcycle 160 MPH”, and now we know the story behind that 160 mph run, and can report that the Mission One electric motorcycle is the fastest production electric motorcycle in the world, with an official land speed record of 150.059 mph. Video and more after the jump.
Mission Motors was indeed present at the Bub Week motorcycle event at the Bonneville Salt Flats earlier this month. With their “race fairings” on the Mission One, Mission Motors was indeed able to reach the 160 mph mark on a single-pass run. But in order to achieve a land speed record, a return pass must be completed, in order to compensate for any windage that may have occurred on the first pass.
Under gusty cross winds and with poor salt conditions, the Mission One achieved an AMA Top Speed record with a 150.059 mph two-pass average run, under the Bonneville timed mile. Compare that to the 173 mph single-pass run of the Norton NRV588 wonderbike, and you can begin to better assess the level of power that the Mission One is achieving as a production prototype. Mission Motors states that the record breaking powertrain found on the prototype will be exactly the same as the one found on the final production motorcycle.
Running on the salt present its own set of unique challenges to riders and teams. One of the most surprising facts is that racing on salt is actually slower than racing on asphalt, which would make running at Bonneville seem counter-intuitive. The salt pack can vary greatly in its resistance, depending on the level of water present, and a rough 10% velocity reduction is often assumed when trying to compare the two speeds.
Contending with this salt factor was Mission Motors’ very own Jeremy Cleland, the AMA and AFM racer who shares duties as both Product Manager and Test Rider at Mission Motors. Jeremy described the salt as being “unlike anything [he] had ever encountered before on a motorcycle.” With the top 1/4 inch of the salt having a surface consistency somewhere between a ice cream and a snow cone, Mission Motors had to battle with hooking up the rear-wheel.
With nary a full-rain tire in sight, Cleland had to make his run through the timed mile with a Michelin DOT race tire. With near slick like qualities down the center tread, the Pilot Power was prone to spinning as the Mission One approached the ever increasing barrier of air. Even on their 161 mph single-pass run, the rear-tire continued to spin at speed, which Cleland described as “one of the most exciting thing [he's] done on a motorcycle.” Without inquiring further into his personal life, we’d be inclined to agree.
To contend with the wheel-spin, the Mission Motors team was able to program a traction control system on the fly while on the flats. Although even with the traction control enabled, Cleland was only able to utilize 75%-90% of the throttle, which shows both how cruel of a mistress the salt can be, and also how much more potential the Mission One has in besting its mark at next year’s Bub Week.
After shattering the previous faired electric motorcycle land speed record, Mission Motors has not only opened the door for the electric motorcycle speed wars (are you reading this MotoCzysz?), but also changed a lot of perceptions in the LSR realm. We look forward to seeing the speed trials in the flesh next year, margarita mix in tow.
Mission Motors plans on selling 300 Mission One electric motorcycles next year, with the first 50 Premier Limited Edition models available for reservation now. Each iteration capable of replicating this year’s historic run.