Apple’s acquisition of vehicle experts kills electric motorcycle startup Mission Motors

“Apple Inc’s aggressive recruitment of auto experts as it explores building a car has left a promising, if financially troubled, electric motorcycle startup in the dust,” Julia Love reports for Reuters. “Mission Motors, whose sleek electric bikes drew comparisons to Tesla’s cars, ceased operations in May after losing some of its top engineering talent to Apple, according to sources close to Mission. As tech giants vie to define the future of personal transportation, dangling higher salaries and a more secure future, the defections can be devastating for startups, industry insiders said.”

“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. But former Chief Executive Derek Kaufman thinks the company could have carried on if it had not lost key employees, undermining efforts to raise funding,” Love reports. “‘Mission had a great group of engineers, specifically electric drive expertise,’ Kaufman said. ‘Apple knew that – they wanted it, and they went and got it.'”

“Apple never tried to acquire Mission Motors, Kaufman said. But the engineering team, specializing in hardware and software for electric drive systems, including algorithms for battery charging and cooling, offered Apple a range of expertise to draw from. At least two Mission employees joined Apple in 2012, according to LinkedIn profiles. Over the past year, people with knowledge of Mission estimate about a half dozen engineers moved to Apple,” Love reports. “Other employees also joined companies such as Tesla and Harley-Davidson, but Apple grabbed the largest share, they added.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple plays to win.

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9 Comments

  1. Hmmm… those close to Mission Motors said the trouble reached a key point after a long struggle to find funding and a sound business model. So it would seem to be no surprise that top talent would leave for other jobs. Apple haters (and even MDN’s headline) will quickly say that they killed a promising young startup. I tend to believe that it had nothing to do with Apple.

  2. I believe bikes are very important to the future of electric vehicles. Historically motorcycles have paved the way for cars. It is easier to test engine design when you don’t have to worry about much else. Bikes have been affordable ways for people to get their first vehicle, or “second” while still owing a car or truck. It is easy for mechanics to learn practical experience on bike. I believe we need a successful electric bike first. Starting out with bikes helped BMW and Honda.

    I would be cool if Apple came out with both car and a bike. Think iCar and iCar Nano. ….. Now that you’re finished laughing, this is not the craziest thing you have read on this site.

  3. Their motorcycle only had a 50 mile range although there were many great things about it.

    I know it is popular to believe that “a battery breakthrough is just around the corner”, that belief has been out there for nearly 100 years, good luck on that.

    And while we are shutting down electrical plants as quickly as we can, somehow the supply of electricity is miraculously going to increase. Good luck on that also.

    1. I use a motorbike to commute to work. a 50 mile range would allow me to recharge only 3 times per week. With a conservative estimate of 1,000 recharge cycles, the battery would last more than 6 years. The killer for me will likely be cost, rather than range.

  4. … meanwhile Elon Musk tries to claim that Apple only recruits Tesla’s rejects. However we see that Apple are recruiting the star performers from elsewhere and only a fool would believe that Apple haven’t recruited exceptionally talented people from Tesla.

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