GEM e6 Electric Car Review
Written by John Winger
Model: GEM E6
Description: 6 seater electric car (NEV) Neighborhood Electric Vehicle legally driven on roads with MPH speed limit of 35MPH or less.
Performance: This is one of the easiest cars to operate of all the NEVs. Yes, it could be described as overly simple and akin to a souped up golf cart but it gets the job done efficiently and dependably. The turning radius is not sharp at 39 feet and tight spaces require forward, reverse, repeat a couple of times to make a 180 degree turnaround.
Steering felt a little restrained at low speeds due to the car not having, you guessed it, power steering. Though overall it was pleasurable to drive and had some good zip over short distances. The GEM E6 allows the driver to make constant stops and starts quickly and cover short distances quickly. An overall impression I had was that the vehicle was stable.
Build Quality: The signature large sloped front windshield present on all GEM electric cars is sturdy and well connected to the aluminum frame. The seating is a durable and comfortable made of a soft weather resistant pleather-like material. The hood and framing of the car is made of a light bendable fiberglass/ hard plastic - flimsy by current day car standards, but you're not supposed to hit anything. There were no â€œdoorsâ€ on the model tested, though there are optional frame and canvas, or the more economical soft plastic doors at a price. There are 3 point safety belts to keep you strapped in but it's easy just to let your knees hang out beyond the car frame. I believe in the future GEM will choose (after being sued once or twice) to add low framing rails to keep people from getting their knees knocked off from oncoming traffic or telephone poles, at a price.
The utility bed in the back of the vehicle is made from white powder-coated steel and adds a nice utilitarian touch of class and quality to the vehicle.
The tires come standard at 13 inches, smaller than a golf cart tire. It reportedly can be difficult to find replacement tires to fit the GEM.
Speed: Top speed in this GEM E6 was 21 MPH reached in 58 yards on a flat surface. As with most electric cars, it's quick out of the gate.
Batteries: The car comes standard with lead acid batteries which work fine if you do not mind filling them with water regularly. Optional batteries include maintenance free GEL batteries. The 6 battery pack in the reviewed car sits beneath the third row seating and contained the low maintenance 75Amp/86 watt GEL batteries. For technical of replacement cost information about these batteries see our article, Battery Replacement Costs for Electric Cars.
Uses: The GEM E6 is used for ferrying up to 6 people to destinations on and around resorts, and university/industrial campuses. It is also useful for ferrying trash, landscaping materials, and supplies. Grandfolks could see a need in that grand retirement community carrying lots of grandkids to the pond or golf course. The total payload capacity of the vehicle is rated at 1,310lbs so figure about 350 for the rear optional bed for industrial work.
Optional Accessories: The optional accessories add up so beware when purchasing. The GEL batteries are optional at an additional $1100, a small dash mount fan will cost $75. Many states require a beacon light on top of roof (add $125). The optional beds are between $400 and $800. Another year warranty will set you back $800. A heater/defogger is $475. And those all important bumpers $350. There are many more accessories - even doors if you should need such a thing.
Pricing/Value: As reviewed the 6-seater E6 car was approximately $17,000. Optional added accessories were the S-package with GEL batteries (standard are the lead acid) and the added Stakeback kit (I.e. bed). Those accessories add up. When viewing the GEM web site remember to add in the $1,180 delivery and handling charge to the stated MSRP price. Then you can take off about 5% discount from your local dealer, but add in that ominous sales tax (8% here). Our total cost all in for this vehicle would be a pretty expensive $17,510. If you want the accessory framed doors and interior heating add another $2,725. The E6 is a bit more robust than other NEVs with 6 seats and a utility bed but at these prices it begins to make a lower end SUV look like a bargain. Though it may appear pricey with these optional accessories, GEM electric cars are actually priced fairly well for the build quality in a non-Chinese, non-Tesla comparison of other NEVs. That does not mean that we agree with the pricing. It does seem over priced to us from a value/technology standpoint. From a novelty standpoint maybe not as much.
One final polite message for Global Electric. Dont get stuck in a rut and close minded like your parent company Chrysler. Keep changing and improving your vehicles (and prices through efficiencies) and you may just make it.
For information about the manufacturer click here.
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