Pure Watercraft, the Seattle-based innovator of electric outboards and e-boat technology, has acquired ELUX Marine, the Minnesota-based electric boat manufacturer. This comes on the heels of Pure Watercraft closing a total Series A financing of $US 37.5M on December 18.
ELUX Marine is the designer and builder of a 24.5 foot (7.5m) luxury electric pontoon boat with a striking profile – the Stealth – that was a nominee in the Gustave Trouvé Awards for Excellence in Electric Boats and Boating. The company was founded in 2017 by former medical device entrepreneur Howard Root and Bart Jones, who pioneered the Go-Float electrically driven two-person sun lounger.
Pure Watercraft was founded in April of 2011 by CEO Andy Rebele, who had been a collegiate rower and coached the freshman team at Boston College when he was at MIT. When he saw what was happening in electric cars, it seemed obvious to him that people out on the water would want to enjoy quiet times and air free of noxious fumes. Since he couldn’t find the motor he was looking for he decided to build it himself.
Rebele and the Pure Watercraft team not only developed an electric outboard, but also a patented battery system, proprietary charger and electronic throttle. The battery system delivers the most energy per pound of any battery pack in marine and multiple packs can be combined in series to maximize range. The motor itself is a 25 kW continuous power PMAC, equivalent to a 25-50 HP gas outboard.
Electric outboards debuted on RIB, bass boat, coach boat and pontoon
Last January Pure Watercraft and Highfield Boats debuted 2 RIB packages at the Seattle Boat Show and the electric outboards company expanded its offerings in July to include a bass fishing boat with hull by TRACKER, a pontoon boat ‘party barge’ by Sun Tracker and a rowing coach boat in conjunction with Stillwater.
With the equity-based ELUX transaction Pure Watercraft is now in both the electric motor and electric boat business. Rebele said “By acquiring ELUX, we connect to the lucrative Upper Midwest boating market with a team that has established itself as a leader in launching electric boats.”
“Our mission at ELUX” said Root, “was to build a small, but focused electric boat manufacturer that would redefine the Minnesota pontoon experience. But as we introduced our Stealth and Breeze electric pontoons and saw the potential of electric boating, we knew we couldn’t stop there. We needed to scale.”
The ELUX team field-tested Pure’s proprietary electric outboard technology and concluded that Pure Watercraft is the company to lead the recreational electric boat revolution. Root added that “in meeting Pure Watercraft, we found a team that shared our passion to deliver boating that’s emissions-free, maintenance-free, and gas-free.”
Starting with the 2021 model year, ELUX will focus exclusively on the launch of Pure Watercraft’s electric boat products in the Upper Midwest market. This business combination gives Pure Watercraft an immediate presence in the nation’s largest per capita boating market. Minnesotans spent $924 million on boats in 2019 (up 6.5% from the prior year) and Minnesota boat-related spending has increased each year this past decade.
Financial interest in electric boating on the rise
The Pure Watercraft funding is the latest financial news in the electric boats market. In just the past few weeks, Vision Marine Technology raised more than $US 27 million in their IPO on NASDAQ, the DeepSpeed electric hydrojet motor raised € 2.98M through a crowdfunding campaign, campaigns for Oceanvolt and GreenStar Marine netted € 2,25M and €480k respectively and Sweden’s X Shore celebrated a private investment of €5M (US$ 5.7M) from a group led by veterinary hospital executive Peter Dahlberg.
The Pure Watercraft funding round was led by L37, a hybrid venture capital and private equity firm. “We are inspired by Pure Watercraft’s vision for the future of electric boating and their progress redefining the entire customer experience” said L37 Managing Partner Randall Ussery, who wil be joining the Pure Watercraft board. “Andy has built an impressive organization whose innovations, capabilities, and efficiency can also be applied in other powersports categories where electrification has lagged.”