The prototype for the Mission RS first appeared 2 years ago as the Mission Motors Mission R. Since then, the company has changed names and turned the prototype into a production bike. I would say that the Mission RS is the two wheel equivalent of the Tesla Model S. What I mean by that is the Mission RS offers equivalent performance of an internal combustion powered sport bike without compromise. The performance is good straight up, not just when compared to other electric powered motorcycles. Mission spec’ed the same Ohlins NX30 fork, Ohlins TTX36 shock, Brembo brakes and Marchesini forged wheels as Ducati’s 1199 Panigale R. Weight is minimized by having all of the parts of the frame be stressed structural members. Power is provided by a 120 kilowatt 3-phase AC motor which puts down 160 horsepower and and 130 foot-pounds of torque to the rear wheel through a single gear ratio. A modular, passively cooled battery pack lives in the center of the frame and is available up to a 17 kilowatt-hour capacity. To put that into perspective, the Mission RS’s battery capacity is between the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. The result is a real world range of 140 miles and a top speed of 150 mph (not at the same time). Jay Leno got to take the bike out for some street impressions:
And here’s somebody with more racing chops taking it around the Wilzig Racing Manor:
Campagna Motors of Quebec stops by Jay Leno’s garage to showcase the latest iteration of their reverse-trike T-Rex. New for 2013 is the 1.6 liter inline-6 BMW engine from their sport touring motorcycles. Campagna is able to work with BMW to buy crate engines instead of disassembling whole motorcycles like they did with their Kawasaki engines in previous years. The larger inline-6 produces more torque and power which makes it better suited for the T-Rex which weighs about twice as much as a motorcycle. It’s kind of funny, the exhaust tone still sounds similar to the inline-6 in BMW cars. The I6 is a very fascinating engine layout because it is naturally very balanced which lends itself to smooth revving and the ability to hold a lot of boost from forced induction. Unfortunately, many car makers have switched from inline-6’s to V6’s for packaging reasons. Inline-6’s are too long to be turned sideways to power front wheel drive cars. BMW still loves to use them because they only make rear wheel drive cars. Since BMW wisely overlaps many of their car and motorcycle development resources, it was only natural that they created this 1.6 liter inline-6 for their bread and butter sport touring motorcycles. It just so happens that it’s also an ideal engine for the many motorcycle/car hybrids coming to market like the T-Rex and the Monotracer. These types of vehicles are starting to get a lot more popular for their combination of motorcycle performance and gas mileage with car safety and practicality.
Complete Coach Works drops by Jay Leno’s garage to talk about their electric bus conversions. Just like I advocate here on Flux Auto, there is a huge opportunity to give our existing vehicle fleet a new lease on life with electric vehicle conversions. These guys purchase buses at the end of the useful life cycle of their combustion based drivetrains instead of letting them go to the junkyard or crusher to be recycled for scrap. The buses are then refurbished with a 360 volt AC motor and over 200 kilowatt-hours of lithium ion batteries giving it a 90 mile range. The performance is tested and documented before the buses are ready for another decade of useful service.
We’re all familiar with the phrase “Recycle, Reduce and Reuse.” That’s actually incorrect when you consider the energy and consumption of products through their entire life cycle of being harvested as raw materials, manufactured into a useful product, used up by the consumer and then disposed of. The priorities should be shifted to “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.” Converting cars with dead engines to EV’s is a powerful way to do this.
The lead designer and head engineer of the Cadillac ELR stop by Jay Leno’s garage to show him the new car. The ELR is GM taking the technology Volt and moving it into a premium market. The powertrain is based off of the one in the Volt but is recalibrated for a little more performance. Most importantly, the chassis of the ELR is larger and is no longer an obvious tie-in to the Chevy Cruze like the Volt is. Cadillac’s very successful angular design language is also present on the ELR. I find it interesting that the car technically didn’t need a front grill but they added one purely to keep the styling coherent. I think the ELR is a very encouraging sign for the electric vehicle market. It’s a start to shedding some of the styling, luxury and performance compromises that people are not willing to make to drive EV’s.
Jay Leno invites the president of HRE Wheels down to his garage to check out their product line. HRE produces super high-end made to order wheels in San Diego, California. The guys end up having an interesting conversation about the design, engineering and manufacturing that goes into producing a set of $20,000 wheels.