General Motors is dipping a toe back into the marine power business. The announcement of GM taking a $US150 (A$209) million stake in a boat startup on Monday may come as surprising to some, but buying into a company that’s making electric boats is just another part of the company’s transition to electric vehicles.
GM added in their press release:
The collaboration between GM and Pure Watercraft advances a shared vision to promote sustainability through an expansion of zero-emissions mobility for future generations and reflects the holistic approach necessary for widespread EV adoption.
“GM’s stake in Pure Watercraft represents another exciting opportunity to extend our zero-emissions goal beyond automotive applications,” said Dan Nicholson, GM vice president of Global Electrification, Controls, Software and Electronics. “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.”
The Seattle-based company has been around since 2011 and now claims a post-money valuation of $US600 (A$834) million (that’s valuation after investments). It employs 55 people.
The company is now accepting deposits on an electric outboard motors system that includes one or two batteries and a throttle control box. It is also offering boats from a number of manufacturers with the system preinstalled.
According to the press release from GM, the automaker wants to combine Pure Watercraft technology and experience in the marine industry with its supply chain and manufacturing capabilities to accelerate the commercialization of electric watercraft:
The Pure Outboard from Pure Watercraft uses groundbreaking efficiency to benefit a boat’s performance while reducing environmental pollution, and boasts much lower operating cost and maintenance than traditional marine propulsion systems.
“Our mission is to enable a new era in boating,” said 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 electric outboard motor system is priced at $US16,500 (A$22,931) (broken down as $US8,500 (A$11,813) for the battery pack, $US6,000 (A$8,338) for the motor itself, and $US2,000 (A$2,779) for the charger), for a 50 horsepower equivalent motor. Range will vary by application and the company says to contact them for “personalised range and battery state-of-charge data.”
The North American market is the fastest-growing market in the world for electric boats, forecasted to be worth $US9 (A$12.5) billion by 2026.