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Electric Motorcycle Startup Mission Motors Ceases Operations After Losing Talent to Apple

Mission-Motors-EMElectric motorcycle startup Mission Motors has ceased operations after losing some of its key talent to competitors such as Apple, and failing to develop a viable business model, according to Reuters.
"Mission had a great group of engineers, specifically electric drive expertise," [former CEO Derek] Kaufman said. "Apple knew that - they wanted it, and they went and got it."
The report claims about six engineers from the San Francisco-based startup were recruited by Apple since last autumn, and the company's assets are now controlled by its largest investor Infield Capital.

Mission Motorcycles, a related company created to sell the electric motorcycles, is reportedly in the process of filing for bankruptcy.

Apple never attempted to acquire Mission Motors outright, according to Kaufman, instead drawing from its pool of specialized engineers working on electric drive systems and battery algorithms for charging and cooling.

Mission Motors was founded in 2007 with ambitions to create a world-class electric motorcycle, and it launched an early prototype in 2013 to positive reviews. The company was reportedly often cash strapped, however, and some investors backed out as engineers left for competitors.

Mission Motors never released an electric motorcycle for sale to consumers.

Apple has been rumored to be working on an electric vehicle, codenamed "Project Titan," for several months, with its secretive automotive team reportedly including former employees from Tesla, Ford, GM, A123 Systems, Samsung and other competitors. Earlier this year, it reached a settlement with A123 in a poaching lawsuit.



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11 months ago

That was a dick move by Apple, and those engineers too.


HOW DARE ANYONE PICK TO GO TO A COMPANY WILLING TO PAY THEM A HIGHER WAGE AND OFFER THEM MORE OPPORTUNITIES! THE NERVE OF SUCH PEOPLE. :rolleyes:
Rating: 31 Votes
11 months ago
"Some close to Mission Motors said it had reached a point of no return by last fall, when departures to Apple, and other companies, accelerated after a long struggle to find funding and a sound business model."

So, 1. no funding and 2. No sound business model.

Yep, all Apple's fault.
Rating: 30 Votes
11 months ago
I find it hard to believe that with all the engineering talent in this country, they have that much trouble finding people.

My guess is the company simply ran out of money and was unsuccessful, and that they are using this as an excuse.
Rating: 19 Votes
11 months ago
I can see how this can become a life-threatening issue for a start-up facing a giant such as Apple. These start-ups are often comprised of only a handful of people and if Apple (with its deep pockets) makes offers-they-can't-refuse to essential people, then they are dead in the water.
Rating: 15 Votes
11 months ago
Apple is the Big Bad Wolf everyone complained Microsoft was years ago. The only difference is Apple is far more unethical than Microsoft ever was in going about it's business when it came to situations like what this article is about. Screw everyone over and try to pay them off after like A123. One day it will bite them in the butt again.
Rating: 13 Votes
11 months ago
An Apple car is cool, but an Apple iCycle would be pretty neat.
Rating: 13 Votes
11 months ago
That's an interesting excuse.

Mission Motors is/was a tiny company with a tinker-toy product. They were showing it off as a fast-speed race bike at auto shows or events, but for years and years they have been working it up and effectively going no where. The 2009 spec was for a bike that could go 150mph and 150 miles on a charge. I know electric vehicles, and that bike could definitely reach 150mph, but realistically it would never get 150 miles/charge unless all the stars are in alignment and the driver does some amazing control that makes the battery work perfectly. I would bet it was more like 80 miles of "normal" use.

For a commuter bike, that's wonderful. Who commutes on motorcycles these days and wants this bike? Almost none--the market would be a sliver of a sliver. Who would want a bike with that kind of limit as a sports bike? Almost none. When competing against gas bikes, this bike doesn't fare well in any specs. It was a good project to get a paycheck for a few years, and little else.
Rating: 12 Votes
11 months ago

Apple never attempted to acquire Mission Motors outright, according to Kaufman, instead drawing from its pool of specialized engineers working on electric drive systems and battery algorithms for charging and cooling.


As it should be. If the company's only value was their employees' talents, the employees should benefit by getting great offers, not the investors.
Rating: 11 Votes
11 months ago

As it should be. If the company's only value was their employees' talents, the employees should benefit by getting great offers, not the investors.


This. So much of this.

This is a disgruntled CEO speaking about his failed dream. Truth is, his asset wasn't tangible. I'm happy for any individuals that walked over his corpse, and used this startup as a stepping stone in their career.

If this guy really has some killer idea, he shouldn't have any issue getting it off the ground with other employees. I'm not saying that it's easy to fill the empty seats, I'm just saying that your company shouldn't be ruined by a few staff members leaving.
Rating: 8 Votes
11 months ago
They should release an Apple bike too.
Rating: 8 Votes

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