General Motors revealed Monday it acquired a 25% stake in Pure Watercraft, a Seattle-based company specializing in the development and production of all-electric outboard boat motors.
The motors are seen as more environmentally friendly, given they do not produce the noise, smog and water pollution of fuel-powered outboard motors. The amount GM paid for its stake in the company was not released.
The two companies plan to develop and market battery-electric watercraft, integrating GM technology into a variety of applications with the aim of hastening the industry’s transition to electric mobility. Pure Watercraft employs 55 people, and has already raised $37 million in venture capital funding.
GM will provide engineering, design and manufacturing expertise, as well as help the company overcome supply chain issues.
GM expands its reach beyond automobiles
The deal follows a similar one in June, when GM announced a collaboration with Wabtec Corp. to use GM’s Ultium battery and HYDROTEC hydrogen fuel cell systems in Wabtec locomotives.
In January, GM signed a three-year agreement with Navistar, one of the country’s largest heavy-duty truck companies, to test HYDROTEC fuel-cell systems in partnership with freight hauler J.B. Hunt.
“Our mission is to enable a new era in boating,” said Andy Rebele, founder and CEO of Pure Watercraft in a statement. “This joint effort with GM is expected to enable us to make significant technological advancements in range and charging, while achieving volume production.”
GM says it is spending $35 billion through 2025 on electric and autonomous vehicle technology — including work to improve performance and reduce battery costs with the aim of becoming the market leader in EVs in North America.
“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 in a statement.
“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.”
GM said the products that result from the collaboration will be disclosed at a later date.
Where GM’s investment will lead
Outboard engine sales in the U.S. rose for the ninth consecutive year in 2020, reaching an estimated $3.4 billion according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
“Our early investments in electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles and software have transformed GM from automaker to platform innovator,” said GM CEO Mary Barra in a blog post in October. “They are also providing multiple drivers of long-term growth beyond vehicle sales, allowing us to double our revenue by the end of the decade while expanding our margins.”
Barra aims to have their Ultium battery and HYDROTEC fuel cell platforms used for zero-emission planes, trains, automobiles and boats.