Electric motorcycle startup shutters after losing top talent to Apple

2

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 58
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 798member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    I meant the latter, not CarPlay. There's no way in hell Apple has a team of over 1,000 and is hiring the people it is for this project if they're just working on a better version of CarPlay. Many of the "analysts" that claim Apple is just working on software (like Tim Bajarin and the guy why runs the site Patently Apple) and not an actual car are suggesting it's very sophisticated software. It baffles me that they think Apple could do this independent of actually building a car or working hand in hand with an existing automaker.

    Well, admittedly I know nothing. But I think my post above supports you:

     

    Apple CarPlay can be built externally - but would that require 1,000 engineers?

     

    Core software for a car has to be done in close co-ordination with the hardware.

     

    I just stated that it is unlikely a car manufacturer would let Apple take control of this software. And even more unlikely that a car manufacturer would chose Apple, a producer of consumer devices with absolutely zero experience about building software that powers heavy engineering machinery. Software for a car is different than software that shows a pop-up when you press a screen....

     

    So yes, if Apple wants to build core software for cars, they have to build the car themselves. 

  • Reply 22 of 58
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post



    I wonder how long Mission Motors, founded 2007, intended to go and not ship a product... it isn't like they have unlimited money... or did they think they had?

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflagel View Post

     
    I wonder how long it can possibly take to develop an electric motorcycle.....


    These are both really good questions. I'm going to compare them to Tesla, which admittedly is a little unfair. Cars are not motorcycles and Tesla is a much larger company than Mission was.

     

    But it took Tesla about 5 years to get the Roadster into production. They had only sold a few hundred Roadsters in the year or so before full production began. It also took Tesla about 9 years to get the into production.

  • Reply 23 of 58
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,828moderator

    According to another article (and eluded to in this article), "...at least two Mission employees joined Apple in 2012, according to LinkedIn profiles."

     

    So Apple has been staffing it's vehicle division since at least 2012, likely earlier.  Which suggests the notion of building a car has indeed been floating about the halls of Cupertino since the days of Steve Jobs.  And yes, I am aware that Steve wanted to build a car.  I'm saying now that it has likely been a serious plan for at least 5-6 years, which means it's likely been a skunkworks project for that long too.  The company may be farther along than many believe.

     

    As to the hiring away of Mission's employees, this is what happens when an 800lb gorilla wants in on a space.  Apple's team will be hand picked from among the best in the world; the economies of scale the company will see from the number of units it will move allows it to pay top dollar for talent.  That may not be great for a small start-up that sees its talent poached, but it's great for those engineers and it's ultimately good for the advancement of technology, as Apple will be able to meaningfully advance vehicle technology much faster than a few start-ups.

  • Reply 24 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post

     

    According to another article (and eluded to in this article), "...at least two Mission employees joined Apple in 2012, according to LinkedIn profiles."

     

    So Apple has been staffing it's vehicle division since at least 2012, likely earlier.  Which suggests the notion of building a car has indeed been floating about the halls of Cupertino since the days of Steve Jobs.  And yes, I am aware that Steve wanted to build a car.  I'm saying now that it has likely been a serious plan for at least 5-6 years, which means it's likely been a skunkworks project for that long too.  The company may be farther along than many believe.

     

    As to the hiring away of Mission's employees, this is what happens when an 800lb gorilla wants in on a space.  Apple's team will be hand picked from among the best in the world; the economies of scale the company will see from the number of units it will move allows it to pay top dollar for talent.  That may not be great for a small start-up that sees its talent poached, but it's great for those engineers and it's ultimately good for the advancement of technology, as Apple will be able to meaningfully advance vehicle technology much faster than a few start-ups.


    If Apple pulls this off, it will truly be an astonishing accomplishment. The iPhone was a part-time hobby compared to the efforts this will take, especially at the type of scale that Apple operates in. They will not be able to leverage any of their expertise:

     

    - the design language is totally different

    - the software resilience is a multiple (no temporary resets while going 80 mph on the motorway)

    - the parts value chain is different (sheet metal producers,. suspension manufacturers...)

    - the logistics of getting cars to their buyers is not comparable to shipping small card board boxes around - they need RORO ships, quay space, massive parking lots, etc

     

    For the iPhone, they could at least leverage some of their expertise and heritage; this is totally different.... I wish it for them, but it's like Hasbro wanting to make real airplanes. Personally, I think they will have to buy a car company but I doubt Susanne Klatten is selling...

  • Reply 25 of 58
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflagel View Post

     


    Well, admittedly I know nothing. But I think my post above supports you:

     

    Apple CarPlay can be built externally - but would that require 1,000 engineers?

     

    Core software for a car has to be done in close co-ordination with the hardware.

     

    I just stated that it is unlikely a car manufacturer would let Apple take control of this software. And even more unlikely that a car manufacturer would chose Apple, a producer of consumer devices with absolutely zero experience about building software that powers heavy engineering machinery. Software for a car is different than software that shows a pop-up when you press a screen....

     

    So yes, if Apple wants to build core software for cars, they have to build the car themselves. 


    Admittedly I don't know a whole lot about this stuff either.

     

    Not saying that an electric vehicle is not very complex, but there are bound to be a ton of components, systems, sensors and other things that you simply don't need compared to a gas vehicle.

     

    Where gas and electric vehicles are similar are largely things that are basically off the shelf components and systems these days. Things like steering and anti-lock brakes systems, traction control systems, tire pressure systems, air bags, accelerometers, seat belt tensioners, in-seat sensors, lane change and back-up sensors and front facing LIDAR or other similar systems can likely all be purchased or licensed from anyone who makes them. The same goes for most of the suspension components.

     

    I don't see the need for Apple to reinvent the wheel here. Rather do it how they do it now. Design the body and essence of the vehicle aka the look and feel. And then once they have figured out all of the techniques of how to build it, then use everyone else to supply the parts and labor to put it all together on a massive scale. I could be totally wrong about this but I just don't see Apple owning a car factory per se, but more like how their relationship is with Foxconn.

     

    Anyway I sort of veered off of your original point but that is my two cents.

  • Reply 26 of 58
    lkrupp wrote: »
    The above article clearly, unequivocally implies that Apple is at fault for the startup’s failure. Evil giant corporation kills little guy just trying to innovate and make a living.

    Of course it's Apple's fault. Didn't you hear about what happened to GTAT? Apple's fault. /s
  • Reply 27 of 58
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflagel View Post

     
    If Apple pulls this off, it will truly be an astonishing accomplishment. The iPhone was a part-time hobby compared to the efforts this will take, especially at the type of scale that Apple operates in. They will not be able to leverage any of their expertise:

     

    - the design language is totally different

    - the software resilience is a multiple (no temporary resets while going 80 mph on the motorway)

    - the parts value chain is different (sheet metal producers,. suspension manufacturers...)

    - the logistics of getting cars to their buyers is not comparable to shipping small card board boxes around - they need RORO ships, quay space, massive parking lots, etc

     

    For the iPhone, they could at least leverage some of their expertise and heritage; this is totally different.... I wish it for them, but it's like Hasbro wanting to make real airplanes. Personally, I think they will have to buy a car company but I doubt Susanne Klatten is selling...


    This is where Tim Cook could really shine. He is a supply chain genius.

     

    Also, one thing I can think of is that there are an awful lot of Apple stores located in malls where there is ample parking. Imagine a small fleet of Apple cars cordoned off near the closest mall entrance to the Apple store sitting there like a tourist attraction/advertisement.

     

    For Apple stores in big cities with few parking lots, maybe the very idea of owning a car in the first place isn't nearly as high for most people.

  • Reply 28 of 58
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    sflagel wrote: »
    If Apple pulls this off, it will truly be an astonishing accomplishment. The iPhone was a part-time hobby compared to the efforts this will take, especially at the type of scale that Apple operates in. They will not be able to leverage any of their expertise:

    - the design language is totally different
    - the software resilience is a multiple (no temporary resets while going 80 mph on the motorway)
    - the parts value chain is different (sheet metal producers,. suspension manufacturers...)
    - the logistics of getting cars to their buyers is not comparable to shipping small card board boxes around - they need RORO ships, quay space, massive parking lots, etc

    For the iPhone, they could at least leverage some of their expertise and heritage; this is totally different.... I wish it for them, but it's like Hasbro wanting to make real airplanes. Personally, I think they will have to buy a car company but I doubt Susanne Klatten is selling...

    What experience did Elon Musk have? Didn't he come from PayPal? I don't want to diminish the difficulties here but Apple isn't building an ICE. I think that make a huge difference.
  • Reply 29 of 58
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TechLover View Post

     

    This is where Tim Cook could really shine. He is a supply chain genius.

     

    Also, one thing I can think of is that there are an awful lot of Apple stores located in malls where there is ample parking. Imagine a small fleet of Apple cars cordoned off near the closest mall entrance to the Apple store sitting there like a tourist attraction/advertisement.

     

    For Apple stores in big cities with few parking lots, maybe the very idea of owning a car in the first place isn't nearly as high for most people.


    I don't know how to solve the issues. My point was purely that this is a truly giant undertaking as Apple will not want to sell 20,000 cars priced at $ 130,000. They will want to go for 500,000 cars priced at $ 50,000 in year one, and 1 million cars in year three. A car business is very different from a consumer electronics business (there is a lot in common, like all businesses have a lot in common, but the differences are massive).

     

    When they built the phone, they built it with the companies they built the computers with; a car is built with a totally different set of companies, Companies that none in their Exec suite know. They will a car company, soon.

  • Reply 30 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    What experience did Elon Musk have? Didn't he come from PayPal? I don't want to diminish the difficulties here but Apple isn't building an ICE. I think that make a huge difference.

    They sold 2,400 Roadsters in 6 years. The Model S sold 90,000 in three years. Musk had a long learning curve (and the company may still fail). Heck, there are hundreds of cottage manufacturers of cars but a "real" car company sells 5 million per year.

     

    Apple will want to be a real car company, they will not want to sell a few hundred cars in one year, they will want to sell 500,000. And that is a gargantuan task, one should salute Apple for doing this. Even if the engine is different; its still a car not a Gameboy on steroids.

  • Reply 31 of 58
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflagel View Post

     
    I don't know how to solve the issues. My point was purely that this is a truly giant undertaking as Apple will not want to sell 20,000 cars priced at $ 130,000. They will want to go for 500,000 cars priced at $ 50,000 in year one, and 1 million cars in year three. A car business is very different from a consumer electronics business (there is a lot in common, like all businesses have a lot in common, but the differences are massive).

     

    When they built the phone, they built it with the companies they built the computers with; a car is built with a totally different set of companies, Companies that none in their Exec suite know. They will a car company, soon.


    Non the less it really fun to think about. I love batting the ball of yarn around on stuff like this.

     

    I know just enough to try and talk about it, and not enough to actually solve anything. :)

     

    That being said I am thinking that Apple will offer you any color car you want as long as its Space Grey, Silver, Gold or Rose Gold. 

  • Reply 32 of 58
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,088member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     



    Clickbait is becoming the norm at AI. The above article clearly, unequivocally implies that Apple is at fault for the startup’s failure. Evil giant corporation kills little guy just trying to innovate and make a living.




    I pretty much abandoned all expectations of AI doing actual reporting instead of whoring for web-clicks.

  • Reply 33 of 58
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TechLover View Post

     

    Non the less it really fun to think about. I love batting the ball of yarn around on stuff like this.

     

    I know just enough to try and talk about it, and not enough to actually solve anything. :)

     

    That being said I am thinking that Apple will offer you any color car you want as long as its Space Grey, Silver, Gold or Rose Gold. 


    I any case, I think it is safe to assume that any Apple Car will be available only in the US for the first few years. Too bad (but then again, until our government actually paints road markings on our streets in the UK, nothing works. I mean, how difficult can it be?).

  • Reply 34 of 58
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 1,031member
    Founded in 2007 and they've not produce a product to sell? No product equals no cash flow equals no company.

    Given their engineers must have been of the highest quality for Apple to hire them says incompetent management in bold letters.
  • Reply 35 of 58
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,236member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by formosa View Post

     



    Agreed. The Mission R was a high-end bike, unlike the more mainstream models from Zero Motorcycles, who continue to add to their line-up.

     

    I guess the Mission R was Mission's equivalent to the Tesla Roadster.




    Actually, the Tesla roadster was a concept vehicle that was built on an existing car frame to test the waters and determine if they could actually come up with a EV car that people would but because of its performance. People did buy them, which gave Tesla the direction they needed. Mission tried something and failed, then tried again and failed. This happens to lots of companies.

     

    If I still rode motorcycles, I'd really be tempted to buy a Zero SR, ride up next to a Kawasaki, and blow them away. Of course, they'd catch me at the top end because (I believe) the Zero line is governed at no more than around 100mph but the Kawasaki would have given up by then. ;)

  • Reply 36 of 58
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,828moderator
    sflagel wrote: »
    If Apple pulls this off, it will truly be an astonishing accomplishment. The iPhone was a part-time hobby compared to the efforts this will take, especially at the type of scale that Apple operates in. They will not be able to leverage any of their expertise:

    - the design language is totally different
    - the software resilience is a multiple (no temporary resets while going 80 mph on the motorway)
    - the parts value chain is different (sheet metal producers,. suspension manufacturers...)
    - the logistics of getting cars to their buyers is not comparable to shipping small card board boxes around - they need RORO ships, quay space, massive parking lots, etc

    For the iPhone, they could at least leverage some of their expertise and heritage; this is totally different.... I wish it for them, but it's like Hasbro wanting to make real airplanes. Personally, I think they will have to buy a car company but I doubt Susanne Klatten is selling...

    Depends upon how you characterize Apple's competencies.

    I see Apple as being a company with expertise in engineering new and advanced manufacturing capabilities. It's Apple, not its suppliers, that develops the new manufacturing technologies used in the manufacture of its products. Long history of that at Apple.

    I see Apple as perhaps the world's preeminent global supply-chain manager. The task of corralling the near two hundred suppliers that contribute to the iPhone, not to mention each of Apple's other product lines, at massive scale, is an intractable problem that few other than Apple can manage. It's the 'massive scale' aspect that most sets Apple apart here, as others certainly have even more suppliers for their many product lines. Think HP, for example. But HP is not coming to market with 13 million of any one product, all loaded with the just-in-time latest software version and delivered in a week, as Apple just did with the iPhone 6S launch.

    I see Apple as a company with a unique design focus, with the capability to analyse and design against multiple competing dimensions of a product's design, from its utility to the user experience provided, to environmental and conservation aspects, to cost control and scalability.

    All of these and other talents present and functioning within the halls of Cupertino can and will be brought to bear on the development of a 21st century leading-edge transportation system. I have high confidence.
  • Reply 37 of 58
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    Back on topic. I go to the IoM TT races every year. Mission's drive train technology was good enough for Mugen Honda to adopt for the TT Zero races. Their battery technology was not and another American developed machine, the MotoCzysz E1pc won three straight Zero TTs until Mugen sorted Mission's technology with a better KERS system(Kinetic Energy Recovery). Mugen are now top dog at the TT.
    My guess is that Mission lost control of their drive train technology back in 2011 with the Mugen Honda tie-up and suffered the inevitable decline in being unable to retain their top talent.
    Interestingly, all the top electric motorcycle companies and teams seem to have tie ups with Japanese and South American car companies with huge investments by Indian industry. If you haven't made the connection - no oil reserves.
    Is this possibly the first time Apple has a foot on the bottom rung of a new industry ladder that is yet to show its true potential? Whatever...it's going to be an expensive climb and should deplete Apple's reserves somewhat.
  • Reply 38 of 58
    formosaformosa Posts: 261member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frac View Post



    Back on topic. I go to the IoM TT races every year. Mission's drive train technology was good enough for Mugen Honda to adopt for the TT Zero races. Their battery technology was not and another American developed machine, the MotoCzysz E1pc won three straight Zero TTs until Mugen sorted Mission's technology with a better KERS system(Kinetic Energy Recovery). Mugen are now top dog at the TT.

    My guess is that Mission lost control of their drive train technology back in 2011 with the Mugen Honda tie-up and suffered the inevitable decline in being unable to retain their top talent.

    Interestingly, all the top electric motorcycle companies and teams seem to have tie ups with Japanese and South American car companies with huge investments by Indian industry. If you haven't made the connection - no oil reserves.

    Is this possibly the first time Apple has a foot on the bottom rung of a new industry ladder that is yet to show its true potential? Whatever...it's going to be an expensive climb and should deplete Apple's reserves somewhat.



    Interesting background. I have read of Mission R for a few years now, including the IoM races, but they should have shipped this bike by now. I guess trying to develop (and sell) a real racer uncovered their engineering deficiencies, so nothing was shipped after all (instead of shipping a more "consumer" bike, like Zero).

     

    So Apple may have not been their demise. ;) 

  • Reply 39 of 58
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    sflagel wrote: »
    They sold 2,400 Roadsters in 6 years. The Model S sold 90,000 in three years. Musk had a long learning curve (and the company may still fail). Heck, there are hundreds of cottage manufacturers of cars but a "real" car company sells 5 million per year.

    Apple will want to be a real car company, they will not want to sell a few hundred cars in one year, they will want to sell 500,000. And that is a gargantuan task, one should salute Apple for doing this. Even if the engine is different; its still a car not a Gameboy on steroids.

    1) I think you're undercutting Apple's abilities in 2015. As [@]Rogifan[/@] mentions, Tesla had to do this grassroots, whereas Apple gets the benefits of a decade of public awareness, advances in electronics, trial-and-error from other companies, and Tesla's patent portfolio. It seems clear to me that Apple is building a car, and I see most of the engineering already being in Apple's wheelhouse.

    2) Why 500k as a minimum their first year? How many Bentleys, for example, are sold per year?
  • Reply 40 of 58
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

    Step 1:  Run company to near bankruptcy

     

    Step 2: Have employees leave company for a company with a real future

     

    Step 3: CEO blame Apple for going bankrupt.


     

    What was the name of that company that tried to manufacture some sapphire again? ;-)

Sign In or Register to comment.