GM eyes electric boats in new investment

The deal is worth $150 million combined, including payment-in-kind commitments and capital invested

General Motors has acquired a 25% stake in Pure Watercraft, a Seattle-based startup specializing in electric boats and outboard motors.

GM will provide Pure Watercraft with direct supply chain and manufacturing assistance and access to its parts catalog and electric vehicle components as the companies partner to create a line-up of all-electric marine products and applications. Specific product offerings from GM's collaboration with Pure Watercraft will be disclosed at a later date.

"For over a decade, Pure Watercraft has served as a pioneer in sustainable electric marine propulsion technology," a GM spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. "The collaboration between the two enterprises will advance a shared vision of a cleaner and more sustainable planet for future generations and reflects the holistic approach necessary for widespread EV adoption."

The deal is worth $150 million combined, including payment-in-kind commitments and capital invested. However, the companies are not disclosing the the split between cash and payment-in-kind at this time.


Pure Watercraft, founded in 2011, raised approximately $37.5 million in total Series A funding as of December 2020 and has a valuation of approximately $600 million valuation. 

The company's Pure Outboard motor system, which utilizes lithium batteries and starts at $16,500, provides clean, quiet propulsion that is equivalent to an up to 50 horsepower gas or diesel outboard motor and requires zero maintenance, according to its website

The outboard motor can charge as quickly as half-to-full in 90 minutes on a 240-volt outlet, or five hours per pack on a 120 volt outlet. Pure Watercraft's charger allows for multiple batteries to be charged simultaneously. The company emphasizes that Pure Outboard can support a nearly four-hour, 20-mile fishing trip with 15% charge to spare.

"There are many others selling electric boat motors, but none did a complete end-to-end development like we did. Most are system integrations, which is easier to develop but misses the opportunity for game-changing efficiency gains," Pure Watercraft CEO Andy Rebele told FOX Business. "Our system delivers more than double the propulsion per pound of our best competitors.

Rebele noted that deliveries of Pure Outboard will begin "imminently."

General Motors has acquired a 25% stake in Pure Watercraft, a Seattle-based company specializing in electric boats and outboard motors, at a $600 million valuation.  (Pure Watercraft)

In addition, Pure Watercraft has partnered with major boat manufacturers on electric boat packages, which range from as low as $16,500 to as high as $37,500, depending on the type of boat and amount of battery packs included. Its offerings, which also require a $500 refundable deposit, include a pontoon barge, fishing boat and two rigid inflatable boats.


GM CEO Mary Barra previously hinted in a LinkedIn post in October that the automaker's Ultium battery platform and HYDROTEC fuel cell platform would give the company the "potential to make planes, trains, automobiles and even boats into zero emission products."

GM, who is investing $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicle technology through 2025, predicts the transition to an all-electric future could double its annual revenues by 2030.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GM GENERAL MOTORS CO. 31.39 -1.08 -3.33%

According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, outboard engine retail sales rose for the ninth consecutive year in 2020 to a total of 330,000 units, the highest annual sales volume in 20 years and up 18% compared to 2019. 

There are approximately 15.7 million powerboats in the U.S. and 80 million worldwide, according to Rebele. 

"COVID has caused a boating boom like we haven't seen since post-World War II," he added. "With virtually all car companies committing to go electric, and with 95% of boats fueled at automotive gas stations, you can see how boats will do the same. This will become the default way that boats are powered."