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Arc & Pure Watercraft Attract New Investments In Electric Boating

Electric boat companies are attracting major investments from corporations and venture capitalists.

I’m a sailor. One of the joys of letting the wind be your power source on the water is the silence. My fellow sailors always refer to gasoline- or diesel-powered boats as “stinkpots.” They’re noisy and trail a miasma of dirty air in their wake. Electric boats, on the other hand, are quiet and non-polluting.

GM Takes A 25% Stake In Pure Watercraft

As the world of transportation transitions to batteries and electric motors, interest in electric boats is increasing. Just this week, General Motors agreed to make a $150 million investment in Pure Watercraft, a manufacturer of electric outboard motors. According to CNBC, GM’s investment will be partly in cash and partly in kind. GM will become a supplier of components to Pure Watercraft, a co-developer of new products, and will provide engineering, design, and manufacturing expertise to help the startup establish new factories, the companies told CNBC. The new partnership with GM should help the Pure team navigate supply chain issues as the company grows, says CEO Andy Rebele.

The market for outboard motors reached $3.4 billion last year, according to the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association, capping 9 years of market growth. “The boating market is growing like it hasn’t since post-World War II,” says Rebele. “During the pandemic, people wanted to do things with their families, with their pods. Going out on the water is one of the ideal things to do.”

That growing market is on GM’s radar as well. In a LinkedIn blog post in October, CEO Mary Barra wrote, “We are delivering hardware platforms that will help put everybody in an electric vehicle – even beyond our own vehicles. Our Ultium battery platform and HYDROTEC fuel cell platform give us the potential to make planes, trains, automobiles and even boats into zero emission products.”

Pure Watercraft

Image credit: Pure Watercraft

Pure Watercraft sells outboard motors and watertight battery packs. As many as 10 battery packs can be linked together for maximum range. The company is also collaborating with a number of boat makers to sell ready-to-go electric boats in different shapes and sizes. One is the RIB Classic Deluxe 380 (pictured above) co-created with Highfield Boats. It comes complete and ready for the water at $29,000.

If you think that’s a lot of money, you haven’t priced new boats lately. Nor have you bought gas at a boatyard recently or paid to have an outboard motor winterized. The cost of maintaining an electric boat is considerably less than it is for a boat with a conventional gas or diesel engine, just the way an electric car is cheaper to own than a conventional car.

Arc Completes $30 Million Funding Round

Arc Boats

Image credit: Arc Boats

Pure Watercraft has been pursuing electric outboards for a decade. Arc is a year-old startup co-founded by former SpaceX engineer Ryan Cook that plans to bring technology from aeronautics to boat building. Electric propulsion is at the heart of that initiative. According to TechCrunch, the company is focusing on the design and development of a purpose-built hull and battery packs. Its first boat — the Arc One — has a 24-foot aluminum hull and an electric powertrain that produces 475 horsepower. It comes with a 200 kWh battery which supplies enough power for up to 5 hours of boating on a single charge.

Arc is focused on delivering the Arc One, a ski boat priced at $300,000 each. It plans to build 25 of them first, but Arc has bigger plans once it has established itself as a manufacturer of high tech electric boats, it will offer other designs as well. The company has attracted investments from such high profile figures as Will Smith, Kevin Durant, and Sean “Diddy” Combs. This latest round of funding was led by Greg Reichow, a former Tesla executive who is now a partner at Eclipse Ventures.

The Takeaway

Electrifying the world of transportation, from locomotives to construction equipment, airplanes to boats, and cars and trucks, is happening and the changeover is accelerating on an almost daily basis. Dodge is getting out of the Hellcat business. Electric pickup trucks are coming from the Detroit Big Three. Now interest in electric boats is picking up.

By the time 2030 gets here, the transformation will be nearly complete and those who did not see the future coming will be left by the wayside. This is good news for fans of electrification. Despite the naysayers  and fudsters, it’s happening and sooner than we dared hope.

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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?


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