General Motors invests stake in electric boat startup

Pure Watercraft

US auto giant General Motors (GM) has acquired a 25 per cent ownership stake in Pure Watercraft, a Seattle-based company that specialises in creating all-electric outboard systems and batteries for boats.

“Our mission is to enable a new era in boating,” says Andy Rebele, founder and CEO of Pure Watercraft. “This joint effort with GM is expected to enable us to make significant technological advancements in range and charging, while achieving volume production.”

The collaboration will leverage Pure Watercraft’s innovative marine propulsion technology and experience in the commercial marine industry with GM’s engineering, supply chain and manufacturing capabilities. The two companies will develop and commercialise battery electric watercraft, integrating GM technology into a variety of applications, helping to accelerate the industry’s transition to electric mobility.

Founded in 2011, Pure Watercraft’s outboard engines are powered by lithium-ion batteries, with a plug-and-play design that means virtually any boat hull can install its motors. 

The deal is reported to be worth US$150m, according to Reuters, valuing the startup at US$600m. Specific product offerings that occur from the collaboration will be revealed at a later date.

Pure_Watercraft_Electric_Outboard_Motor

Pure Watercraft told Reuters that the money is being offered in a combination of cash and payment-in-kind, which “includes access to the automaker’s components and assistance with manufacturing.”’

Rebele told TechCrunch that when he started the company a decade ago, “The [Tesla] Model S had not yet been released; the plan of making boats electric was not really fundable.”

GM has stated its aim to become the market leader in EVs in North America. Through 2025, GM has revealed it is investing US$35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicle technology — including work to improve performance and reduce battery costs.

“Building upon GM’s existing efforts to strategically deploy our technology across rail, truck and aerospace industries, the combined expertise of these two enterprises should result in future zero-emissions marine product offerings, providing consumers with more choice than before,” says Dan Nicholson, GM vice president of global electrification, controls, software and electronics. 

Images courtesy of Pure Watercraft.

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