GM explores electric boats, buys 25% of Seattle engine maker


DETROIT – General Motors is testing the water in electric boating by purchasing a 25% stake in a Seattle company that makes battery-powered outboards.

The Detroit-based automaker announced Monday that it has purchased the stake in Pure Watercraft for a company it says will develop and market battery-electric personal watercraft.

Pure Watercraft, founded in 2011, is worth $ 600 million after the GM deal, spokesman Gabe Johnson said. GM said its investment was $ 150 million, including cash and in-kind contributions. The companies are not disclosing how much money GM is investing in the deal.

Pure Watercraft, a private company, manufactures an electric outboard propulsion system powered by a lithium-ion battery. It is designed to replace any boat equipped with a 25 to 50 horsepower gasoline outboard motor. The company also works with boat builders to sell complete boats, according to its website.

The two companies will combine Pure Watercraft’s marine experience with GM’s engineering, supply chain and manufacturing capabilities, the automaker said in a statement.

“This joint effort with GM should allow us to achieve significant technological advances in range and charging, while achieving volume production,” said Andy Rebele, Founder and CEO of Pure Watercraft.

The deal gives GM the opportunity to use its electrical technology in an industry beyond the automotive industry, said Dan Nicholson, vice president of global electrification. “The combined expertise of these two companies should translate into future zero-emission marine product offerings,” said Nicholson.

GM is already working on electrification and hydrogen vehicles in the rail, truck and aerospace industries.

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