In plant, on-campus, between nearby locations. Those are the types of uses for which Global Electric Motors' (GEM) electric vehicles are ideally suited. Starting a cold engine for a short drive, a condition that encompasses roughly 500 million trips per day in the U.S., puts the most pollutants into the air. Using a pure electric vehicle like the GEM eliminates those pollutants.
Global Electric Motor Cars, LLC of Fargo. ND, was acquired by DaimlerChrysler in December 2000. This allowed DaimlerChrysler to be the first major automaker to offer this type of vehicle in the U.S. GEM is the largest U.S. producer of electric vehicles suitable for use on public roads.
NEVs, Not Golf Carts
GEM vehicles fall into the classification of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV). These are pure electric vehicles that are certified for use on public roads posted with a speed limit of 35mph or less. California certifies GEM vehicles as zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), allowing them to be used to offset the ZEV mandates required of some fleets. So far, more than 35 states have approved NEVs for use on their roads.
Although those mandates don't usually fall on commercial fleets, GEM is hoping to increase its vehicle sales to the commercial fleet market. According to the company, possible uses include large office campuses, neighborhood package delivery, industrial settings, and manufacturing facilities. According to Max Gates, GEM communications manager at DaimlerChrysler, "The indoor-outdoor aspect of these vehicles confers an advantage, because they are non-polluting. Factory settings and certain kinds of commercial operations are really amenable to this."
Any business situation that involves numerous short trips, in which there is no time for an internal combustion engine to warm up to operating temperature, can benefit from the use of NEVs. Under the right conditions, they can make a good dent in the overall fuel bill, while contributing to clean air. It could be a win-win situation.
Four Models are Offered
GEM offers four models in its lineup, two-passenger and four-passenger cars and short-bed and long-bed utility vehicles. Six 12-volt batteries provide the power for a 72-volt motor. Regenerative braking increases battery charge. Drive is through the front wheels, and hydraulic brakes are fitted all around.
The vehicle structure consists of a welded aluminum space frame covered by structural composite and thermoplastic panels. A safety glass windshield with wiper protects the driver and front passenger from the elements.
Curb weight ranges from 940 lbs. for the two-passenger car to 1,280 lbs. for the four-passenger car.