purewatercraftTesla has already changed the way we think about electric cars. Now one Seattle startup vet wants to do the same for motorboats.

Andy Rebele, an entrepreneur-turned-investor, is the founder of Pure Watercraft. His three-year-old company is building high-performance all-electric recreational boats that Rebele says mimic the quality and engineering of Tesla’s vehicles.

“This is like the Tesla for boats because we take a professional engineering approach to our product development,” said Rebele, who sold CityAuction to IAC/InterActiveCorp for $54 million back in 1999.

Pure Watercraft founder Andy Rebele.
Pure Watercraft founder Andy Rebele.

Rebele founded Pure Watercraft in 2011 while he was thinking about applying the same principles seen in today’s electric cars to boats. He was also frustrated with his own boat, which would often not start and spewed out smells of gasoline — which also made quite a dent in his wallet.

“It struck me that there must be an electric option,” Rebele said. “Finding none, I decided to launch this company.”

While electric boats have been around for years, Pure Watercraft thinks it has come up with a solution that is cheaper, lighter, and more efficient than what’s available on the market today. Rather than simply bolting an electric motor to an existing outboard motor housing, the company is building the entire product from the ground up to be electric.

“Just as Tesla discovered that you have to use lightweight body materials and re-engineer where you place the motor and batteries, we’ve done the same with outboard motors and boats, to build a product that shows what electric can really do,” Rebele explained. “That’s the only way to achieve the range, performance, longevity, and quiet experience we think boaters want.”

purewatercraft2There are similar companies that sell electric motors, from Torqeedo to Aquawatt to Ray Electric Outboards. Rebele said Pure Watercraft differentiates itself with a “comprehensive solution to the whole system” that includes a battery pack and charger system. The product also keeps batteries at a healthy temperature — similar to Tesla — to extend the amount of electricity available.

“We end up with a lightweight, high performance outboard and battery system that achieves very high efficiency, long life, and no maintenance,” said Rebele, a former member of the Stanford varsity crew team. “These results are impossible using a traditional outboard housing and cobbled-together battery pack.”

A company’s outboard motor will be made in 9.9 to 25 horsepower configurations and will be offered with a matched battery pack and charger. Pure Watercraft will target the 50,000 people who buy recreational boats with gas motors each year.

The company has raised $1.5 million to date, a majority of which has come from Rebele. Techstars Seattle Managing Director Andy Sack is also an investor.

“We see this becoming a viable competitor in the outboard motor market, delivering the best solution for those who value quiet, clean, efficient boating,” Rebele said.

Comments

  • ThatsJustHowISeeIt

    This is great and I wish them well! How did they deal with the situation with salt water and batteries.

    • whocares007

      It was really salty.

    • http://www.purewatercraft.com Andy Rebele

      Salt water is a challenge. We are using marine grade connectors designed for salt water and salt air, and our battery pack is designed with an IP67 rating (which means it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes). Our outboard has no sea water loop, so there is no internal passageway with salt water in it, and our motor liquid cooled, so we have no air passageways in the outboard where salt air could get in and cause problems.

      Andy Rebele
      Pure Watercraft

      • jack

        yes andy, must need IP67, as the salt situation ,we use the Amphenol conectors ,it is good ,

  • Slaggggg

    Checking out their web site – it says the charges lasts for 2-3 hours of typical boating. Unfortunately that’s a pretty short day on the water. Love this as a “v1″ but it’s tough to think about what happens when you run out of charge after a few hours and can’t get back to the dock.

    • http://www.purewatercraft.com Andy Rebele

      The web site (which is going to be revised imminently) references our prototype runabout which was built in 2012. The outboard motor, which is our first product, has an external battery pack, and you can choose the number of packs for the range you desire.

      For those concerned about “getting back to the dock”, the issue is a lot simpler than with an electric car. On the water, if you cut your speed in half, you get about double the range. Unlike a conventional gas or diesel motor which gets extremely inefficient at low power levels, an electric system stays very efficient at all speeds, so you can generally make it home, even if you pay no attention to the battery. (But of course you’d be wise to pay just as much attention the battery as you do to your gas tank in a car.)

      Andy Rebele
      Pure Watercraft

      • jack

        I think this and the electric car is the same, there are screen can display the battery’s SOC, so you can note whether you can return to the origin, so as to control whether you need to continue to move forward

  • Kary

    Seems to me like they are thinking too small. Should be at least 65 hp and have a much longer life. Basically be something more integrated into the boat.

    • http://www.purewatercraft.com Andy Rebele

      The intrinsic problem with higher power is that it requires a very large and heavy battery pack. There is already a good 80 hp outboard from another company, but it weighs 276 lbs and requires a battery pack that weighs about 660 lbs (and it only gives you 30 minutes max range at full throttle). As you pointed out, this would have to be integrated into the boat from the beginning. It might be the right

      We chose our power level because it’s the level at which you can carry and mount the motor and battery pack yourself, and get decent range (and you can add battery packs to get much longer range).

      Andy Rebele
      Pure Watercraft

      • jack

        yes , you can add battery pack to get much longer range, and it is better use lifepoe4 than lead-acid and NI-MH battery, as lithium battery had more Energy density and safety

      • Mike

        80hp on a 20′ ski boat won’t even pull a skier behind it out of the water, it’ll drag them along like a fishing lure though.

        What is the initial boat use intended for? A 12′ Livingston with 15hp outboard does well with fishing on small lakes, but it would actually be pretty sketchy on Lake Washington if you got too far out on a choppy day.

        I ask as the pic that GeekWire used is a boat with probably a 250hp engine in it. Sort of misleading if your goal is to replace small outboards with EV tech (which would totally rock for fishing while not busting up against large wakes in a small boat.

        • http://www.purewatercraft.com Andy Rebele

          Great questions.

          The photo is of our runabout prototype, because that’s what we can show now. The outboard is the product we’re readying for market.

          The outboard will be configurable from 9.9 to 25 HP. Those are true HP, but the propulsion will be equivalent to gas outboards from 9.9 to 35 or 40 HP (because of prop efficiency advantages). So a small boat on Lake Washington with our outboard should be able to go fast, or to troll for sockeye at 1 mph without needing a separate trolling motor.

          As you imply, replacing this category of outboard with modern, professional EV tech is very compelling. That’s what we decided after creating our first prototype (which is 280 HP).

          • Mike

            Nice! I know people trawling at slow speeds would love a super quiet (EV) motor instead of any gas/diesel for smaller boats.

            Have you done any EV testing with impellers, like those used on ski doo’s and jet sled river fishing boats? The immediate torque from an electric motor would help spool up the impeller quickly to get moving, which always seems to be the lag issue with gas and impellers.

          • http://www.purewatercraft.com Andy Rebele

            We haven’t. There are many applications for them (like the silent camera boat for Mythbusters or Top Gear, or fishing shallow waters), and there are jet-drive outboards out there, but they’re about 20% less efficient, and it would require significant redesign for us to do this.

          • danwat1234

            But according to a video from Pure Watercraft, they use a 280HP motor on one of their boats. ‘
            Electric boat acceleration – up to 45 mph’

        • Kary

          I used 65 hp in my post because that can pull a skier behind a 16′ boat, or at least they used to back in the 60s before they had 150 hp outboards. Someone over 200 pounds from a water start might be a challenge, but it can get the job done.

      • ivyespalier (Randy)

        A 0.95 kWh battery in the Hyundai Tuscon FCEV puts out 24kW. 65 HP is only a little under 50kW. Why wouldn’t a much larger battery be able to put out that much power?

        How is the minimum cost 53k? The 85kWh pack in the Model S is less than 20k.

      • danwat1234

        280HP in an electric boat on a video on your Youtube channel. Why does this article only mention up to 25HP outboard motors?

        • http://www.purewatercraft.com Andy Rebele

          Dan, that was I who replied to your question on YouTube. The article rightly focuses on the product we’re preparing for market, the 9.9-25 HP outboard motor. It’s not as informative or newsworthy to talk about the specs of our 2012 prototype. Thanks.

  • jack

    good work , i would like to join in , i can provide the lifepo4 battery and motor.

  • Michael Clark

    Ten
    or fifteen years ago I had a friend that had a fority foot plus wood
    classic sail boat he went all electric.. It looked strange but worked great..

  • Nathan White

    Sounds like an awesome concept. If you need any testers count me in. A 9.9 horse would work great on my 17ft alumacraft trolling on the Columbia river for salmon.

    • http://www.purewatercraft.com Andy Rebele

      I’d appreciate some feedback from just your type of boater. Feel free to contact us through our web site and I’ll get back to you.

  • danwat1234

    Only up to 25HP? Hmm, hopefully a high performance motor in the future of this company. Anybody else experience that this site doesn’t load up properly? No pictures in the page show up. Using Google Chrome 36

  • danwat1234

    Guys, their inboard motor is 280HP, much better! Check out their video on their Youtube channel. 45MPH speeds

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