The GEM Electric Car: Features and Facts

March 27, 2012

The GEM electric car, from Global Electric Motorcar, was one of the first all electric drive cars available. Learn more about GEM car models.

Electric Car

The GEM electric car, from Global Electric Motorcar, was one of the first all electric drive cars available. The company was founded in Fargo, North Dakota, and is a subsidiary of Chrysler Motors. Founded in 1997, GEM produced and sold its first car in April of 1998. GEM cars are classified as low-speed vehicles and are street legal in nearly all 50 states on public roads with posted speeds of 35 MPH and lower.

These are some of the options and packages available as original equipment GEM vehicle options.

  • The "S" package. This option adds nine 8-volt maintenance-free gel batteries and a heavy-duty flat bed cargo carrier. The batteries extend your range to 40 miles and the carrier gives you a 440 pound cargo capacity.
  • The GEM 7 HP Performance Package.This package contains a beefy 7-horsepower motor as well as scoops, a big heat sink and chrome emblems.
  • The Convenience Package. This package comes with an accessory power outlet, grab handles, mud flaps and scuff guards.
  • The Deluxe Exterior Package. For looks, this package contains chrome hood decals, license plate lamp and light bezels on the headlights.
  • The Deluxe Interior Package. This includes a deluxe steering wheel, embroidered floor mats and two-tone seats.
  • The Luxury Package. This includes all of the aforementioned options, plus 14-inch aluminum wheels, day/night mirror, dome light, front chrome bumper and a tilt steering wheel.
  • The Utility Package. This has all the options in the Convenience Package, plus a fold down stakeback and a rugged front bumper All GEM models come standard with a battery charger built-in. This means that you can recharge wherever you can find a 110 volt outlet. GEM's are completely assembled in Fargo, North Dakota of almost completely American made and supplied components. Chrysler and GEM perform a rigorous series of tests on every GEM model, to ensure that they are safe and a quality product.

GEM Car Batteries
The Gem Electric Car is a 72-volt car. This means the motor that runs it requires 72 volts for top performance. The accessories inside the vehicle, such as lights, stereo, etc all operate at 12 volts. There are two battery configurations available on GEM cars:

The e2, e4, eS and eL models all come with six 12-volt maintenance free gel batteries. The e6 and eXD come with eight 9-volt batteries, giving these two models slightly extended range and power. The gel batteries are used because they offer longer life, more driving distance and more power than standard flooded lead acid batteries.

Pros and Cons of the GEM
There are a few considerations to weigh when buying a Global Electric Motorcars electric car.


  • These vehicles is very affordable. Models start at $7,000 and go up to around $10,000. These are often good options for schools, malls and city vehicles and they offer cheaper affordable options for municipalities instead of regular cars.
  • As electric vehicles, no gas is needed which means there is a big savings compared to a gas powered car.
  • These cars are street legal in almost all parts of the country. The GEM can reach a top speed of 25 miles per hour, but that is fast enough to be able to drive on roads with a speed limit of 35 or lower
  • Since it is an electric car, there are no emissions of the toxic gases that regular cars give off.
  • The GEM features an on board charger that allows you to plug the car in anywhere there is a 110 volt outlet.
  • For some buyers, the location of where the car was produced is important. The GEM electric car is built 100 percent in the United States.


  • The practicality of using this car on the road is limited. The car maxes out at 25 miles per hour. It is more of a vehicle to be used in a mall setting, or at a school. The market is small for these cars.
  • Due to the open nature of the car, it is usually not a good idea to drive this car if it is raining or if rain is in the forecast. The vehicle is pretty much a fair weather vehicle. Cold weather is also not good for the car, as the colder it is outside, the colder the ride will feel, just like any convertible.
  • The electric range of the vehicle is about 25 to 30 miles on a charge. The battery also takes a very long time to charge for having such a small capacity. A full charge will take around six to eight hours, and the car must not be in motion to charge.
  • There are safety concerns with the vehicle. The car is not built like a full sized vehicle, and there is a real danger if an accident were to occur.

Related Questions and Answers

Do Any Electric Cars Compete with the Speed of a Normal Car?

Electric car  speed can compete with the speed of a normal car. If you are talking about a hybrid car, then electric car speed can easily match the speed of a normal car. There are some high-performance models, such as the European-based Fiskars all-electric that claim a very long range and the ability to run at 220 mph. Some of their literature does show this. The Chevy Volt, a real electric with a gas generator on board and the Nissan Leaf, don't claim huge top speeds, but will easily keep up with highway traffic flow. There's also the Tesla coupe, available from the West Coast that claims a top end conservatively in the 80-mph range and a 0 to 60 run of around four seconds. They are in production and building their dealer network.