General Motors has taken a 25% stake in Seattle-based electric boating company Pure Watercraft. GM’s move reflects a broadening interest in all electrically powered vehicles, including boats and other vehicles. It comes as part of the auto manufacturer’s commitment to invest $35 billion in electric and autonomous technology through 2025.
Pure Watercraft makes an all-electric outboard motor that can be used as a bolt-on replacement for a boat that would use a 25 to 50 hp gas-powered motor. The company has also partnered with major boat manufacturers to sell complete electrically powered boats, including a pontoon boat and bass fishing model from Tracker Boats, a choice of Highfield rigid hull inflatables (RIBs) and an electrically powered coach’s shell for crew or sailboat racing teams.
Pure Watercraft says its electric systems require zero maintenance compared to gas engines, in addition to eliminating fossil fuel pollution. The company website says the Pure Outboard can run for four hours or 20 miles with 15% of the battery charge in reserve.
The company raised a $23 million Series A led by L37 last September to spin up production nine years after the CEO Andy Rebele founded Pure. With this latest investment from GM, the two companies will co-develop and commercialize battery technology, “integrating GM technology into a variety of applications,” the automaker said in a statement.
This is just the latest signal that electric technologies are starting to move far beyond road vehicles or even aircraft, to transportation and mobility formats that have continued to be dominated by conventional gas propulsion. Ten-month-old electric watercraft startup Arc has raised $7 million in total funding, including bringing on several new investors last month. Seattle startup Zin Boats is also developing an electric speedboat.
It’s also a noteworthy move for GM, which is already exploring ways to use its technology in other mobility industries, like rail and aerospace. Earlier this year, the company partnered with Wabtec to develop electric freight locomotives using hydrogen fuel and batteries. GM also announced a partnership with Liebherr-Aerospace to jointly develop a hydrogen fuel cell demonstration system for aircraft.