Make waves, walk on water – the list of puns for this type of investing is almost endless. In an agreement reported by Detroit Free Press, General Motors has invested $ 150 million in a Seattle-based startup called Pure Watercraft. The team manufactures electric outboard motors and batteries for marine applications.
To be clear, all references to this agreement make sure to underline that the amount touted by the two parties includes both “commitments in kind and in capital”. So it’s hard to determine how much money the General transferred from RenCen to Pure Watercraft, especially since connoisseurs don’t speak. Referring to “in-kind commitments” can mean anything from marketing advice to using a warehouse, the value of which is often determined by the company providing the largesse.
This can be awkward when trying to determine the true value of a trade. For example, your author might claim that he gave $ 1 million in in-kind services when he worked hard for three days to build a new patio for a family member. I might think it was worth the effort, but the free market certainly isn’t.
Either way, GM now claims 25 percent of Pure Watercraft, a ten-year-old company that touts itself as the supplier of lithium-ion batteries that are said to have the equivalent of 50 horsepower. Their R&D department has apparently been busy, as their website details the team’s progress in developing a proprietary gear set and motor drive design. This multi-year research has apparently resulted in a system that runs quietly with less vibration than some other options on the market.
So what’s GM’s endgame here? He could have access to this so-called silent technology, although the general’s EVs weren’t really loud. Maybe they jumped in bed with this company for modular power, presented by Pure Watercraft as a retractable battery system. Each pack contains 8.8 kWh of juice and can be daisy chained for higher capacity applications. They weigh just over 100 pounds each and are about two feet long by about a square foot. Silverado PHEV with a few of those batteries under the bed, maybe?
Okay, that probably won’t happen given GM’s investment in its own Ultium battery technology. If anything, it will be the other way around. Suits at RenCen specifically said they were investing in the company for “future zero-emission marine product offerings”. Specifically, they will further develop technology for BEV watercraft, deploying some of The General’s battery technology to help accelerate the industry’s transition to electric power. Remember, GM has its fingers in many pies, including rail and aerospace. They aren’t just for Silverado and Sierra pickups, no matter what we like to think.
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