The drive to ramp up Apple’s electric car project came at the cost of one electric vehicle startup. That company was Mission Motors, a maker of electric motorcycles, according to Reuters.
In 2013, the company appeared to be on the upswing, with its Mission R motorcycle named one of the 25 best inventions of the year by Time Magazine. But its fortune reversed two years later, with the San Francisco-based company filing for bankruptcy in September. In a letter to the courts, co-founder Mark Seeger admitted Mission Motors was so low in cash that it couldn’t afford to hire an attorney, according to Northjersey.com.
While finding funding for the company was a problem, the departure of several engineers to Apple and other companies accelerated its demise.
"Mission had a great group of engineers, specifically electric drive expertise," former Mission Motors chief executive Derek Kaufman told Reuters. "Apple knew that -- they wanted it, and they went and got it."
As a result of the hires, some investors backed out of a potential funding round.
Mission isn’t the only company that has butt heads with Apple in the electric vehicle space. In May, Apple and battery maker A123 Systems came to a settlement over a lawsuit alleging that Apple poached its battery engineers, violating non-compete agreements, according to the Wall Street Journal. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has also taken pot shots at Apple, calling it the “Tesla Graveyard” in reference to its engineers that left for Apple.
Officially, Apple hasn’t said a word about its electric car project, dubbed “Project Titan.” But in the past year, it has hired a number of automotive and electric vehicle experts. In August, documents obtained by the Guardian also revealed that Apple was scouting locations in the San Francisco Bay area for a venue to test its vehicle.