GM acquires stake in electric boat startup Pure Watercraft

General Motors, which said “everything is going to electrify” this year, has acquired a 25% stake in Pure Watercraft, a Seattle-based startup that makes electric outboard motors for boats, the company told CNBC.

Pure Watercraft systems use lithium-ion batteries to replace 40 to 50 horsepower outboard motors running on gas or diesel. Traditional fueled boats contribute to environmental issues, including noise, smog and water pollution, which are clearly visible as they follow the water. Pure systems are much quieter and cleaner.

For Pure Watercraft CEO Andy Rebele, a longtime fishing and boating enthusiast and former rowing coach, a personal commitment to addressing these challenges has resulted in huge market opportunities.

According to the National Marine Equipment Manufacturers Association (NMMA), U.S. outboard engine sales hit a record high in 2020, growing for the ninth straight year to about $ 3.4 billion.

“The boating market is growing like never before since World War II,” says Rebele. “During the pandemic, people wanted to go about their business with their families, with their capsules. Going out on the water is one of the ideal activities. “

This growing market is also on the radar for GM. CEO Mary Barra hinted at GM’s interest in marine electric transport in blog post in october, discussing the company’s Ultium battery and Hydrotec fuel cell platforms.

The total value of the deal with GM is $ 150 million, Rebele said, including in-kind payment obligations and capital invested by the auto giant. The company does not disclose the division between cash and in-kind payments.

With its investment, GM will become a component supplier for Pure Watercraft, a co-developer of new products, and will provide engineering, design and manufacturing expertise to help the startup build new factories, the companies told CNBC.

Rebele said his new partnership with GM should help startups tackle supply chain challenges as Pure Watercraft grows.

For GM, the investment in Pure Watercraft marks another step in a series of steps to expand its battery and fuel cell systems outside of the automotive industry. Earlier this year, GM announced plans to develop and commercialize electric locomotives with Wabtec. He has also shown interest in the use of his batteries and fuel cells in aerospace and military applications.

Pure Watercraft’s post-cash valuation is $ 600 million. The 55-employee startup previously raised $ 37 million in venture funding.

– CNBC’s Mike Wayland contributed to this report.

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