Zero-Emission Vehicles

Electric Boats by General Motors

April 29, 2022

Electric Vehicles of the Sea

There are currently over 20 manufacturers of all-electric boats in America and a good deal more in Europe. But when General Motors gets involved, sea-going eyebrows get raised. The automaker recently announced that it is taking its zero emissions strategy offshore, and we’re not talking about sail boats.

GM has acquired a 25 percent ownership stake by investing $150 million into Pure Watercraft. According to GM spokesperson Mark Lubin, Pure Watercraft is now valued at $600 million. It appears that the deal is made up of “in kind commitments and capital.” GM isn’t saying how that is all split up at the moment.

Pure Watercraft is a startup company based in Seattle that manufacturers all-electric outboard motors for boats of all different kinds. They tell us that Pure Watercraft and General Motors share a stated goal to expand zero-emissions mobility and promote EV adoption beyond cars. The two companies plan to develop and market all-electric watercraft using GM technology in a variety of boating uses in order to accelerate the world’s transition to a greener future.

“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," Dan Nicholson, GM vice president of Global Electrification, Controls, Software and Electronics, said in a statement.

While developing all-electric outboard motors might seem like a “slam dunk,” according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), this deal could be very lucrative as well. It seems that the sales of outboard motors in America hit an all-time high last year at $3.4 billion after nine years of consecutive growth!

General Motors has said it will invest $35 billion through 2025 in developing EVs and self-driving cars. In October, GM told investors it was transforming the company to be a software and technology company that expands offerings beyond autos.

In a blog in October, CEO Mary Barra hinted at using GM technology for watercraft. “We are delivering hardware platforms that will help put everybody in an electric vehicle — even beyond our own vehicles,” Barra wrote. “Our Ultium battery platform and HYDROTEC fuel cell platform give us the potential to make planes, trains, automobiles and even boats into zero-emission products.”

Pure Watercraft said its outboard motor boosts a boat’s performance while reducing pollution and providing a 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.”

GM said the collaboration will leverage Pure Watercraft’s innovative marine motor technology with GM’s engineering, supply chain and manufacturing capabilities.