Mission Motorcycles Files For Bankruptcy

SEP 12 2015 BY TDILLARD 8

As reports come in of the Chapter 7 (liquidation of assets) bankruptcy of Mission Motorcycles (AKA Mission Electric), it would appear that the Mission story has come to a close, and our fears of a few months ago were on target.

The story in NorthJersey.com (Mission was co-founded by Fort Lee resident Vincent Ip) reports that Mark Seeger, Mission’s CEO filed a letter with the court claiming the company had “so little money it can’t afford an attorney”, and the situation was a result of the 2013 lawsuits resulting from the termination of Ip:

Seeger’s letter about the company’s troubles was filed in connection with a pair of suits involving Ip. Mission Motorcycles filed a suit in December 2013 claiming Ip signed a stock restriction agreement that allowed the company to buy his shares if he left the company. The company terminated Ip in November 2013.

Ip, in a counter-suit filed in February, says he was duped into signing the agreement by Seeger.

The court in May ruled that Mission Motorcycles’ attorney, Lowenstein Sandler of Roseland, could withdraw from the case because Mission Motorcycle was not paying its bills. And Seeger, in his letter, said he had not found a replacement by the court-imposed deadline last month because of the company’s woes.

“I have struggled to rescue the business to find a buyer for the assets,” without success, he wrote. He added that “to date, we have not earned any cash/revenue of any kind,” and had no funds to hire an attorney.

Just to keep to form in the Mission story, this isn’t as clear-cut as it may appear.  No filing is on the docket with the court (as of Tuesday) the NorthJersey.com report states, and there’s no guarantee that this will protect Seeger from Ip’s countersuit:

Lisa Solbakken, a New York attorney for Ip, said that even if a Chapter 7 filing stayed the case against Mission Motorcycles, Ip would continue it against Seeger individually, and Lowenstein Sandler, which is also a defendant.

“Our complaint alleges that Mr. Seeger sought to benefit himself personally,” Solbakken said. “Without knowing the facts to Mission’s finances, which to date have been undisclosed to us, we can’t comment, even to the veracity of his claim that the company has no money.”

This is pretty certainly shutting the door on the Mission R and RS production, however the legal melodrama which was in all likelihood the main contributing factor to the company’s troubles is far from over for Ip and Seeger.

While the Mission R and RS held huge promise, and inspired more than a few to make deposits (which by all appearances are lost, at this point), it became clear within the last few years that the bikes were, while languishing in legal and marketing purgatory, fast becoming outdated by products like the Energica – already being distributed in Europe, soon to come to the US, and with similar performance.

Read up on the Mission story here, and courtesy of The Electric Chronicles, here’s the complete Mission timeline:

 

Mission MotorsMission Motors RacingMission Motorcycles
2007Mission Motors founded
Feb ’09Prototype Mission One PLE revealed
Jun ’09Mission One races TTXGP on the Isle of Man, finishing 4th place in the PRO class
Sept ’09Sets AMA electric motorcycle LSR at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats for 150.059 mph (average of 2-way pass).
Oct ’09Neiman Marcus LE Mission One announced
Feb ’10Forrest North, founder and CEO, stepped down, Mission One delivery delayed, Mission Two rumored
Feb ’10Mission Motors appoints Jit Bhattacharya as Interim CEO
Jun ’10$3.35MM in additional funding secured
Nov ’10MissionEVT (Electric Vehicle Technology) launched
Dec ’10Misson R motorcycle announced
Jun ’11Steve Rapp rode the Mission R at the Infineon ReFuel time trials, sets electric motorcycle lap record of 1:43.7
Jul ’11First place victory for Steve Rapp at FIM/TTXGP – Laguna Seca
Aug ’11$9 million Series B funding round secured
Jul ’12Jim Higgins sets NEDRA record for the SMC/A3 class (street-legal electric motorcycle) with a 1/4 mile time of 10.602 @ 122.57 mph on Mission R
May ’13Mission Motors tweets Mission Motorcycle launchMission Motors tweets Mission Motorcycle launch
May ’13Debuts the Mission RS (160hp, 200 Mile Range, and $58,999)
Jun ’13Debuts Mission R
Jan ’14Files suit against co-founder Vincent Ip
Sep ’14Mission Motors, Mission Motorcycles announces (still pending as of 9/25/14) merger as Mission Electric
Sep ’15Mission Motorcycles reportedly files for Chap 7 Bankruptcy

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8 Comments on "Mission Motorcycles Files For Bankruptcy"

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The number of two, three, and four wheeled EVs, even from well established ICE manufacturers, that vanish after promising prototypes or small production runs, is truly remarkable.

Indeed. I wonder when Lightning will follow.

zikzak,

I have wondered the same thing. Right now Energica is the one to beat. When you look at both the Mission R/RS and the Lightening LS218 both bikes while extremely fast really lag far behind Energica in the technology department. You can’t bring a brand new 2012 vintage motorcycle to the market in 2015 and expect to be successful.

If you can’t afford an attorney, will one be appointed for you? (insert the appropriate smiley face here.)

Mission: Impossible

I’m really sorry to see this. Given the number of years Mission was in business, I hoped it was a sign that a small EV motor/powertrain company could succeed in business. I guess not. 🙁

Why not? Zero Motorcycles is still a tiny company (as of a year ago, that was extremely tiny), and they seem to be doing pretty well.

This is a brand new market, so startup country. Just like in any other new-tech (or new application of existing tech…) market, 4 out of every 5 startup will fail completely, and of those that don’t, most will struggle, barely returning the investment, and very few will succeed.