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GM backs electric boat start-up in $ 150 million deal

General Motors took a 25 percent stake in Pure Watercraft, a Seattle-based startup that manufactures electric outboard motors and boat batteries, CNBC reports.

The deal is worth $ 150 million, though it’s split between GM’s cash and in-kind contributions. The two companies didn’t say anything CNBC what this split will look like, but GM “will become a component supplier for Pure Watercraft, a co-developer of new products, and provide engineering, design and manufacturing expertise to help [Pure Watercraft] establish new factories, ”according to the report.

GM struck a similar deal – albeit half the size – with Lordstown Motors in 2020 as part of this electric pickup startup’s merger with a special-purpose acquisition company. (Much of the value attributed to the deal was the GM plant sold to Lordstown Motors, which is now bought by Foxconn as part of the Taiwanese electronics giant’s push into electric vehicles.) Also once had a deal in place to receive $ 2 billion in shares in hydrogen-electric trucking startup Nikola in exchange for access to parts, components and a portion of manufacturing. But that deal fell apart after Nikola was accused of fraud in September 2020.

GM has made much less rocky bets outside of the EV space. He bought startup Cruise in 2016 and backed a battery-focused MIT spinoff in 2015. Like CNBC points out, CEO Mary Barra telegraphed that the company was studying personal watercraft in an October blog post:

We offer hardware platforms that will help everyone in an electric vehicle, even beyond our own vehicles. Our Ultium battery platform and HYDROTEC fuel cell platform give us the ability to turn planes, trains, automobiles and even ships into zero emission products.

Pure Watercraft is one of the many startups trying to electrify boating, even though it’s a company that has been chomping at the idea for 10 years. It sells outboard motors and waterproof batteries, and also works with a number of boat builders to sell plug-and-play electric boats of various shapes and sizes.

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