GM’s EV roadmap is beginning to take shape

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GM's EV roadmap is beginning to take shape

General Motors is getting into the boating business, buying a 25% share in a US electric vehicle company specializing in boat propulsion systems. Pure Watercraft, based in Seattle, has invented a zero-emissions outboard motor that is quiet and requires no maintenance.

At first view, the Pure Outboard system appears to be a typical gas outboard motor. The machine, which can produce 25 kW of electric power and has power tilt/trim and a 16-inch prop, is equivalent to a conventional 50 horsepower outboard.

It may be fitted to the back of an existing boat, with 8.8 kWh battery packs and a Bluetooth-enabled throttle. For longer-distance cruises or larger vessels, up to ten batteries can be joined together at once. “There are no fluids to ever check or replenish,” Pure Watercraft adds, “no spark plugs, no cooling loop to get clogged and carry invasive species, no gear set rebuilding, and no annual winterization with our fully-sealed electric outboard motor.”

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The Pure Outboard is available for preorder now, with prices starting at $16,500 for a single battery and $25,000 for two battery packs. Preorders on fully customized boats, integrating the company’s outboard technology with vessels from other manufacturers, are also available. A Sun Tracker 20 DLX Party Barge, for example, costs $28,500 all-in, while the Tracker Pro Team 175 TXW Bass Boat costs $27,500.

Meanwhile, GM has been concentrating its electrification efforts on land until now. The company is hard at work on its first Ultium-based production vehicles, constructed on its innovative modular EV platform. The GMC Hummer EV will be the first such vehicle, followed by the Cadillac Lyriq. It’s part of GM’s $35 billion investment in electric vehicles and self-driving cars, which will last until 2025.

However, the appeal of Pure Watercraft is extending electrification beyond the automobile sector. According to a statement from GM, pure Watercraft’s revolutionary marine propulsion technology and experience in the commercial marine market will be combined with GM’s technical, supply chain, and production capabilities. “The two firms will work together to develop and market battery-powered watercraft, incorporating GM technology into a number of applications and assisting the industry’s transition to electric mobility.”

At this time, it’s unclear how much GM paid for its 25% stake in Pure Watercraft. Similarly, it’s unclear what items the two corporations are planning. GM says those details will be shared at a later time.

Still, it’s not an unthinkable scenario for a car firm. The market for electric boats has been quietly increasing as the same advantages that EV drivetrains have on land have been turned to display their capabilities on the water. Jaguar, for example, electrified a prototype watercraft in 2018, setting a new marine speed record in the process.

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X Shore, a Swedish boat manufacturer, recently unveiled its first electric model for the US market. According to the makers, the Eelex 8000, branded “the Tesla of electric boats,” has a 225 kW motor capable of 35 knots and dual 60 kWh lithium-ion batteries with a range of up to 100 miles. That doesn’t come cheap, though: the strikingly styled yacht starts at a hefty $329,000.

On the other hand, Pure Watercraft dramatically undercuts it, not least since it isn’t attempting to construct the entire vessel. That might make the prospect a lot more tempting – and realistic – for individuals wishing to make an electric update to their existing boat, similar to how GM’s long-term objective with Ultium is to provide a compelling upgrade option for people looking to retire their internal combustion cars and trucks.

Source: media.gm | purewatercraft