GM exploring electric boats, buys 25% stake in engine maker

Discussion in 'Electric Propulsion' started by Ike, Nov 22, 2021 at 2:36 PM.

  1. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    GM exploring electric boats, buys 25% stake in engine maker

    Mon, November 22, 2021, 9:10 AMDETROIT (AP) — General Motors is testing the water in electric boating by buying a 25% stake in a Seattle company that makes battery-powered outboard motors.

    The Detroit automaker said Monday that it bought the stake in Pure Watercraft for a venture that it says will develop and commercialize battery electric watercraft.
    https://news.yahoo.com/gm-exploring-...171034997.html
     
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  2. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    This looks like a great deal. The next thing they need to do is get the contract for the new America's Cup chase boats -the protocol dictates hydrogen power!
     
  3. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    I'm frugal. Some might say cheap but I really strive for efficiency. When I refitted Pearl I added a 9.9 HP High Thrust outboard to use trolling. I discovered other uses for it though.

    20210815_172946.jpg 20210815_175805.jpg

    One day, a few years ago I set out down river to see how far I could go on a three gallon tank of gas. When running the outboard I find that it likes about 3,000 RPM, maybe a little less. The main engine is off and the main prop windmills a bit. We don't set any speed records and loaf along at a little under 5 knots. Fortunately there is an autopilot attached to the little outboard so I don't have to steer constantly. After better than 5 hours I pulled back into the marina. I had a quart of fuel or thereabouts left in the tank. I'd covered better than 24 miles round trip which showed fuel economy of between 8 and 9 miles per gallon.

    If I want to go 7 or 8 knots I fire up the main engine and we get 3 miles per gallon or a little less.

    I guess it's all about choices. Heck, I could go down to Florida, a roughly 1,200 mile trip (one way) on the little outboard on 150 gallons of fuel. Even at $5 per gallon that's only about $750.00. But you need time and patience. I'd also add that you'd need generator fuel. I'd say about 1 gallon a day for my Honda EU1000i to charge the batteries and keep the AC power on.

    My whole little outboard setup cost me about $6,000.00 Maybe a little more. $3K for the OB and $3K for the autopilot, which you really need. I don't know how much a battery powered system would cost that provides comparable performance but I can't see it being less that $6K.

    Carrying 20 gallons of gas let's say I run 8 hours per day. I would cover about 40 miles. This would use about 5 gallons of fuel, plus one for the generator or 6 gallons per day. I could easily stay out for three days, cover about 120 miles and have all the power I need. I'd use about 18 gallons. At $5 per gallon my total fuel cost per day would be about $30 and about 75 cents per mile.

    At 40 miles per day I'd take about 30 days to travel 1,200 miles. More when you consider weather and delays.

    Am I going to Florida on the kicker? Of course not. But it's nice to have that option when I'm not in a hurry. I can use both the main and the kicker on long trips. I increase my fuel efficiency on calm pleasant days when I'm in no rush. If I need to get somewhere more quickly I have the option of going a little faster. I just have to pay for the privilege.

    I've nothing against new technologies. I just think that there are ways to be much more efficient using the technology we already have.

    MIA
     
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  4. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    Yes, and given comparable budgets for complete installations, kickers (say under 20 hp) could easily be 20% better than they are on a trip down the ICW. They could have better generators, remote freshwater cooling options, and fuel consumption settings for the throttle. For low speeds, a two-speed gearbox makes sense for load matching in varying weather and sea states. Of course, saving 20% of $1000 dollars per year isn't worth the $3000 dollar cost of doing this.
     
  5. alan craig
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    alan craig Senior Member

    How can a company be worth $600 million when as far as I can work out, they haven't sold a single outboard? Product looks good though, but I'm surprised that they can keep a 25kW motor cool in such a small housing.
     
  6. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    600 million is a market valuation and essentially baseless

    take any ipo and say 10,000,000 shares at $10 is 100 million value

    Honestly, the product looks interesting, but the same pain occurs. Battery needs and range realities...
     
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  7. DogCavalry
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    DogCavalry I aim to misbehave.

    Exactly. Inconvenient reality of physics and chemistry. I think it's GM greenwashing
     
  8. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    They might just want a patent or a cool product name. Given the cost of batteries, interchangeability is one way to lower the cost to consumers. When not on the boat, the same battery can be used in a yard tractor or moped. But you have to get in on the ground floor to get that sort of inter-operability worked out. Establishing plug-and-play battery standards for larger batteries will make somebody rich in the near future.
     
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  9. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    Venture funding is far weirder than you could even comprehend. In an oversimplified but typical deal $600M would be the post money value of the company. The investment would be structured as a convertible loan of the $150M with first out provisions and RLR on any future investments. It all looks very impressive in paper net worth but in 3 years if the company were to be sold for $300M, all of the money would likely go to the VC -GM.
    GM is not doing this because they like boats. They are doing it because the technology is all a sunk cost for them and they want to be in position to dominate the market should environmental concerns rule out fossil fuels (a safe bet). The $150M would likely look like $50M worth of engineering and development (people GM pays anyway), $50M worth of tooling (ultium battery capacity), and $50M going into the original company to expand.
     
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  10. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    I doubt GM has any interest in Pure Watercraft technology. It's more about time and placement. Pure has a product here and now, tested, and working in boats. What Pure has is a proven 25kw motor that is as good as anything out there. GM engineering and purchasing will be able to cut the motor cost in half and the battery cost to under $100/kwh.

    What I like about GM's 'ultium' battery plan is that it is repairable and technology agnostic. You could actually replace some damaged cells in a large pack with new cells of a completely different chemistry and technology -and the system would continue on managing each cell to it's optimum.

    Ultium's Flexible, Unique Battery Cells | General Motors (gm.com)
     
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