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I am considering purchasing a GEM Car-produced by a division of Chrysler. Its a street legal all electric car, sort of a glorified golf cart that gets 30 miles per charge. Its seems good for driving around the neighborhood and short trips on city streets (35 MPH speed limit or less), which consititute a significant amount of my driving. However, I do not know anyone that owns one for some real time ownership experiences.

I don’t have one, but the thing that would most concern me about this vehicle is the top speed of 25 mph. There is a considerable amount of road rage being displayed nowadays, and if you are traveling at your maximum speed of 25 mph on a road with a 35 mph speed limit, you WILL be subjected to a lot of road rage. And, if you are getting close to needing a recharge, it is very possible that you might not even be able to sustain a speed of 25 mph.

Please understand that I am not attempting to justify this road rage that you will experience. I am only pointing out that you will be subjected to it.

I have to ask: Why? You say you are considering it, but you don’t say why you want it.

If you are thinking it will reduce your cost, add up the cost of the vehicle, maintenance and electricity as well as insurance taxes etc. Now do you really think you will save enough to justify buying it. If it is the green thing to do, remember that your electricity likely is produced by burning coal, oil or gas. There is not likely any cleaner air there.

An elderly neighbor of mine has one. Seems to work great for his application. He never goes more than a few blocks away.

Many retirement communities in year-around good climates have been using golf carts modified with directionals, wipers etc for years. And I’ve read recently that some towns are changing their motor vehicle laws to allow them now. And that, my friend, is a key point…you need to check on the legality and requirements in your area.

A retired couple the next neighborhood over recently bought one and really like it. They have printed out maps and figured out 35 mph routes to many destinations. I understand you can upgrade the electric motor (through Chrysler) to go 35 mph instead of 25 mph.

However, I have to echo what others are saying. When you add up all the costs can you save enough to justify buying it? And remember that fuel is likely being burned to create the electricity you would be using.

Note my power source will be a combination of power from an active solar installation I am concurrently installing and/or off peak power from the grid.