Science

Polaris Reintroduces Its GEMs

By Paul Pajarillo , Nov 05, 2015 06:46 AM EST

Ex-Chrysler-owned company GEM specializes in low-electric compact vehicles fitting into a neighborhood class of electric vehicles. Now known as Polaris, the electric car company will be reintroducing its newly designed GEM cars to the public.

GEM was at one point owned by Chrysler that produced small electric cars. GEM cars featured all-electric powertrains that fit into a class of electric neighborhood vehicles. However, these vehicles were not meant to be used on highways as it was on the low-speed category.

Polaris, a company that makes motorcycles and ATVs, now has GEM at their disposal. After the motorcycle maker purchased the low-speed electric car company, it is making big updates for its slow cars to be faster.

The new Polaris GEM will feature car-like safety characteristics, to include substantial suspensions, roofs and glass windshields to meet SAE crush standards. With this update, the vehicles will now be street-legal on roads with 35 mph speed limits.

All of Polaris' vehicles can go to speeds up to 25 miles per hour except for the eM 1400 that only goes 19 miles per hour. The speed limits put the cars in the low-speed category, which is subjected to less Federal laws for conventional trucks and cars. Power outputs may vary from 5.0 KW to 6.5 KW depending on the electric car model.

For the first time in GEM's automotive history, the cars feature lithium-ion batteries with lead-acid battery variants. The car's rooftops can also generate its own renewable energy through solar power. In addition, a RiderX app installed in the car's panel allows drivers to download maps and monitor vehicle parameters.

Founded in 1992, GEM was one of the first carmakers thoughtful about low-speed electric cars. It was started by a group of former General Motors engineers. The company began production of vehicles in 1998, and was acquired by Chrysler in 2000. Due to bankruptcy, Chrysler sold GEM to Polaris. Since then, more than 50,000 vehicles were sold globally.

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