By: Scott Way
North America's largest automaker has purchased a 25% stake in Pure Watercraft, a Seattle-based electric motor manufacturer.
In a press release, GM said the objective of the partnership is to move closer to zero emissions mobility and the adoption of EV technology on all fronts. General Motors has already invested $35 billion through 2025 in electric and autonomous vehicle technology, although this is their first foray into electric marine technology.
"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 & 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 race to become the market leader in EV's in North America is rapidly expanding in both the automotive and marine industries. GM has already seen success with the Chevy Bolt series of small sedans and crossover SUV's, and GMC recently unveiled the all-new Hummer EV. Cadillac will be releasing their electric Lyriq SUV in 2023. The marine industry has seen major investments in propulsion technology by leaders like Mercury Marine, as well as the gradual increase in marketshare of electric boat companies like Sweden's X-Shore.
GM has a history of supplying engine blocks and components to marine manufacturers like Mercury and Volvo, although this will mark their first acquisition of an electric motor company designed for the marine space.
"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 collaboration will leverage the marine propulsion technology of Pure Watercraft with GM's capabilities in engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain distribution. Both companies will work together to develop and commercialize electric watercraft, which will include adding GM technology into a variety of marine applications. The end game is to accelerate the capabilities and adoption of electric technology in both industries.
Pure Watercraft was founded in Seattle, WA in 2011 and manufactures electric outboard motors for RIBs, pontoons, fishing boats, and small day boats. Their proprietary 'Pure' motor produces the equivalent of 25-50 horsepower depending on the boat type and related factors. It weighs only 112 lbs with a 16" 3-blade propeller and the associated lithium ion battery weighs an additional 118lbs in a remarkably small 22"x15"x9" mobile unit.
You can get a look at Pure Watercraft's engine technology in the video below: