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Electric GEM Car
Old 11-30-2010, 08:41 PM   #1
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Electric GEM Car

With all the talk about the Volt and the Leaf I was contemplating buying a GEM car. Anyone have one? Or a NEV? I don't know too much about them except for seeing them run around where used to work. They only go 25 MPH, the key question is actually range. Seem pretty simple and good around town on slow streets.
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Old 11-30-2010, 08:45 PM   #2
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I think you should opt for the Volt. It's cost is about 33K from what I hear and if your light on the pedal you can go 100 miles. Sounds like a great deal to me.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:11 PM   #3
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Why spend that kind of money for such a limited use vehicle? $6-13,000 according to this:

5 electric cars you can buy now - GEM Car (2) - CNNMoney.com

and a 30-40 mile range. You can buy a decent used vehicle for that, and you won't be limited to streets with a posted speed limit of 35mph or lower. I couldn't get out of my neighborhood with that thing. And I can walk there.

edit: Note that while it says "now" in the title, the article is from 2008... I wonder how many of the predictions of "available in late 2008, 2009 or 2010" came to pass?

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Old 11-30-2010, 09:22 PM   #4
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Ah, here's one:

The article says (in 2008) -
Quote:
Its maker, ZENN Motor Company Inc., claims its energy efficiency is equivalent to a gasoline-powered car getting 245 miles per gallon.

The Toronto-based carmaker recently announced plans for a highway-capable auto to go on sale in the autumn of 2009.
But the current (Nov 2010) wiki says -
Quote:
In September 2009 CEO Ian Clifford announced that ZENN was ceasing car production to concentrate on selling its drive-train technology to other manufacturers. The company confirmed it will launch its 2010 model but not the CityZENN model. The company had only sold a total of 500 vehicles and cited slow sales as a reason for the decision.[1] In December 2009, the company made a further announcement confirming its new strategy and announcing that it will cease production of the ZENN LSV by April 30, 2010.[2]
Lotta money to put into something with such an uncertain future, IMO.

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Old 11-30-2010, 09:24 PM   #5
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The one I am looking at is a 2000 with only 750 miles for $2,500, people do not put a lot of miles on these things, maybe that tells me something? A new set of batteries would cost $1,200 which the seller claims the current ones are good. If I drive it to the metro rail parking there is a free electric charging station. If I were still working I could actually get that far on a nice back street. But we already have two cars & DW does not want another one. If it would replace one of our cars it would be compelling but thats not the case here. I'm sort of satisfied with the prospect of the whole deal but DW is not and thats kind of the end of it.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:43 PM   #6
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If it would replace one of our cars it would be compelling but thats not the case here.
I guess I could see where it might fit the bill for some as a second car. At $2500 it could make economic sense (low insurance I assume). Low miles would be expected - it takes a long time to put on miles at 25mph.

Quote:
I'm sort of satisfied with the prospect of the whole deal but DW is not and thats kind of the end of it.
I'm still trying to learn that! I'm stubborn, stupid, or both!

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Old 12-01-2010, 04:26 AM   #7
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They only go 25 MPH, the key question is actually range. Seem pretty simple and good around town on slow streets.
Before you commit yourself to one with a 25mph (or even 40mph) top speed, I would suggest a personal real life test for a least one week: Use you current conventional gasoline burning car and limit yourself to that top speed at all time, no exception.

It's not fun to see a long line of vehicles in the rear view mirror driven by frustrated drivers on the verge of road rage.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:24 AM   #8
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I had a 50cc motorcycle with a top speed of about 40 mph and it very quickly became frustrating and dangerous to drive just because of limited acceleration and top speed. I'd pass on this opportunity.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:40 AM   #9
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I had a 50cc motorcycle with a top speed of about 40 mph and it very quickly became frustrating and dangerous to drive just because of limited acceleration and top speed. I'd pass on this opportunity.
My city scooter is an air cooled 250cc with a top speed of 74.4mph (tested it myself). It cruises comfortably at up to 55mph. Anything above that is a strain on the engine and suspension. I avoid using it on roads with a 50mph or higher speed limit.

A 3 to 5 years old 250cc scooter with low mileage (usually less than 1,000 miles,) in excellent to mint condition are sold for $1,000 - $2,000 range. Fuel efficiency should be around 80 miles/gal. Maintenance is super simple and cheap if you do it yourself. Geico insures both my 250cc and my 500cc Ninja for $100/year (yes, $50/bike/year.)
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:05 AM   #10
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We have a bunch of the GEMs here. I think I saw a TV segment about how horrible they do in crashes with "real" cars weighing many times what they do. I'd be afraid of driving one mixed in with other cars. Of course, they are probably about as safe as a motorcycle or scooter.
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:06 AM   #11
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My city scooter is an air cooled 250cc with a top speed of 74.4mph (tested it myself). It cruises comfortably at up to 55mph. Anything above that is a strain on the engine and suspension. I avoid using it on roads with a 50mph or higher speed limit.

A 3 to 5 years old 250cc scooter with low mileage (usually less than 1,000 miles,) in excellent to mint condition are sold for $1,000 - $2,000 range. Fuel efficiency should be around 80 miles/gal. Maintenance is super simple and cheap if you do it yourself. Geico insures both my 250cc and my 500cc Ninja for $100/year (yes, $50/bike/year.)
I guess my point was that a vehicle that can only go 25 mph is a pain to own unless you are driving it around an area closed to regular vehicle traffic.
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:38 AM   #12
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I guess my point was that a vehicle that can only go 25 mph is a pain to own unless you are driving it around an area closed to regular vehicle traffic.
Agreed. Even a 40mph top speed vehicle has no safe place in traffic, even city traffic.
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:42 AM   #13
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We have a bunch of the GEMs here. I think I saw a TV segment about how horrible they do in crashes with "real" cars weighing many times what they do. I'd be afraid of driving one mixed in with other cars. Of course, they are probably about as safe as a motorcycle or scooter.
I'm not promoting motorcycles. However, compared to these "golf cars", motorcycles are safer simply because they have the power to stay away from trouble spots.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:07 AM   #14
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The other problem you have is safety.... what happens when that drunk driving an F-350 plows into the side of you doing 40


I have a neice that has one... she lives in a neighborhood that has BIG yards... and they use it to get around the neighborhood... this and golf carts are common there... but it never gets out of the neighborhood....

What do you do on a cold day OR hot
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:41 AM   #15
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The other problem you have is safety.... what happens when that drunk driving an F-350 plows into the side of you doing 40
Not to belittle the safety aspect but what difference would it make if you were driving this golf car or a conventional car? In either case the damage done by that F-350 would be the same, for all practical purposes.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:20 AM   #16
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Not to belittle the safety aspect but what difference would it make if you were driving this golf car or a conventional car? In either case the damage done by that F-350 would be the same, for all practical purposes.
OK.. lets change it to 25.... now I am still alive in my car... the person driving this electric car is dead...

And there is a possibility that I can live even at 40 in a car as there are side curtain airbags and steel beams helping out... none in this...
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Old 12-01-2010, 01:23 PM   #17
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I had a 50cc motorcycle with a top speed of about 40 mph and it very quickly became frustrating and dangerous to drive just because of limited acceleration and top speed. I'd pass on this opportunity.
That was the reason I didn't get one of those. There's a short stretch where I need 50 mph uphill and a 50cc just doesn't have it.

Then I beat the bushes for 6 - 7 months looking for a suitable used motorcycle, but at a time when gasoline was $4/gal and headed higher they were grossly overpriced. A few were asking more for a used bike than sticker on a new one!

So I ended up with a touring bike that's just under 1500 cc and in hindsight I'm glad I bought the larger bike. It was heavily discounted because I bought it in December and the dealer clearly wanted it out the door. Mileage is usually about 45mpg but I did get 50 once.
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Old 12-01-2010, 05:16 PM   #18
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It's not fun to see a long line of vehicles in the rear view mirror driven by frustrated drivers on the verge of road rage.
May be different where others live, but this would not be an issue where I live. I seriously considered an NEV for commuting. But in the state/county where I live, an NEV is not allowed on any road with a posted speed limit of more than 35. They would not be allowed on major roads where speed limits are 45, 55, etc. I can go the back way to work and stay on 35 mph roads most of the way, not all of it. I asked the county if they'd allow me the exception to drive for a few short stretches on roads with higher limits (in the interests of promoting environmental citizenship) and they said absolutely not.

So you might check the laws/regs where you are. The laws where I am make buying an NEV a non-starter...
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:44 PM   #19
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... in the state/county where I live, an NEV is not allowed on any road with a posted speed limit of more than 35.
Thank god for that! Are you sure about 35? 35 seems high to me. 25mph would be more reasonable.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:03 PM   #20
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Texas low speed vehicle Law
Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs), also known as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), and golf carts are regulated by state and federal laws. Registered, titled and insured NEVs may be legally driven at a maximum speed of 35 mph on public roads with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or less, unless a city or county ordinance prohibits their operation.
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