Pure Watercraft has unveiled the first fruits of its collaboration with General Motors at CES 2022, and it’s a Pure-branded, “affordable luxury” electric pontoon boat that offers silent running, smooth acceleration, and dramatically reduced maintenance – without exhaust gas and oil leaks ruining the water for everyone. Is it enough to to make a splash in the recreational boat market, and why did GM buy 25 percent of the company back in November? Read on.
GM acquired a 25 percent ownership stake in Seattle-based Pure Watercraft back in November. At the time, Pure didn’t offer “its own” watercraft, selling its all-electric “Pure Outboard Systems” (apparently their marketing department doesn’t understand acronyms and/or is not moved by irony) and a pair of pre-Purified (© Jo Borras, 2022) Highfield RIB boats wearing Pure Watercraft decals. This pontoon boat is different, being a purely Pure product (sorry). And, as a boat, it doesn’t seem half bad.
This Pure Watercraft is a 24’7″ electric pontoon boat with seating for 10, a top speed of 20 knots (about 23 mph), and can be ordered with either single or twin Pure Outboard Systems motor that’s “juiced” by a GM-sourced battery pack that can be optioned up to 66 kWh.
Different option packages and configurations will appeal to different markets, of course, but the appeal to recreational hunters and fishers is undeniable. A smooth, silent boat like the Pure Watercraft simply won’t scare off wildlife the way a rumbling V8 will. Party boaters and go-fast enthusiasts, too, should find something they’ll like in the bigger battery/dual outboard options available to them … and, make no mistake, there’s a lot of “them”.
Pandemic power up
Much like the e-bike market, the recreational boat business has exploded since the onset of COVID-19 as families look for more outdoor activities and workers find themselves with more free time (and, in some cases, money) after being freed from their office commutes. And, believe it or not, they’re buying boats now. “People are making decisions now, even in the winter, to acquire boats,” said Brunswick boats‘ CEO, David Foulkes, on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” all the way back in 2020. “We’ve attracted in a new demographic,” he added. “(One that) I think that provides us great momentum, not just next year but into future years.”
He seems to have gotten that prediction right. The pontoon boat market has grew 20 percent in 2021 and is expected to double in size again, reaching a projected $4.09 billion by 2028 (up from “just” $2.13 billion in 2021), growing at a CAGR of 9.7% from now until then.
GM and Pure see nothing but upside. “Pontoon boating is booming, because people want to get out on the water and socialize with family and friends in the great outdoors,” reads their combined CES press release. “This boat gives them a more enjoyable experience, free from engine noise and the hassles of fuel and maintenance, at a price comparable to that of a conventional pontoon boat. This unprecedented value is a result of our relentless focus on efficiency.”
Pricing is set to start at $45,000 for a single POS outboard Pure Watercraft pontoon model, and $60,000 for a twin POS outboard model with a larger battery pack. Pre-orders are currently being accepted on the company’s website with a $100 deposit effectively saving your spot in line. The first deliveries to customers are expected late this year.
I’ve always believed that the surest way to get your kids to appreciate nature is to get them out into it. I’ve been very lucky, growing up in Costa Rica and South Miami, living near the water, and having the chance to camp in some of the most beautiful places on Earth. And, as cool as I thought that purple-gold sheen on the water at the marina was cool when I was five, I know better now. I know better and I am horrified. So, as much as I love drag racing and motorcycles, it is that love of nature that has driven me to replace my go-fast cars and motorcycles with cleaner, greener options as they became available – and I, for one, couldn’t imagine buying a gas-powered pontoon boat in 2022.
GM made a smart move here, and I hope it pays off for them. We need more people to get outside and rethink their “next” tow vehicle purchase. Thanks to Pure Watercraft, maybe we can get them to rethink what they tow, as well.
Source | Images: Pure Watercraft.
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