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Anyone own a GEM?

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive May 2006: Anyone own a GEM?
By Tink on Monday, May 8, 2006 - 01:30 pm:

We're a single-car family right now and, after we move, we'll be in an area where shopping, schools, friends and family will all be fairly nearby. DH and I are considering buying a GEM (a street legal low speed vehicle) for me to take the kids to school, go grocery shopping, and visit friends and family. DH works such an awkward shift (3pm-12am, typically) that it's not really practical for me to take him to work in order to have the car but it means we're stuck in the house most afternoons and evenings. We've been offered a good deal on a used one and it seems cost-effective and practical but, of course, I'd like to hear from a "real" person and owner, if possible. Thanks.

By Trina~moderator on Monday, May 8, 2006 - 02:29 pm:

I had never heard of them so I did a web search.

I would be concerned about safety issues. Have they been crash tested? Do they have airbags? My biggest concern when toting kids around... Can you install car seats and boosters? They show an e6 model with a little girl who should be in a car seat/booster, riding without one. How do they handle in the snow? They look cool and are very reasonably priced, but I think I'd lean towards buying a reliable older car instead. I'm curious to see if these will sell and become popular.

By Conni on Monday, May 8, 2006 - 02:41 pm:

We saw a few of these in England. :) They are interesting.

At those prices I would opt to buy a good older used car. My sister (who has a suburban) just bought a used 1996 Toyota Corolla to do her running around in. It was a little old ladies car- only had 30,000 miles on it!!!!!!!!!!! She picked it up cheap.

By Tarable on Monday, May 8, 2006 - 02:56 pm:

I work in the insurance industry and before you make a decision you need to check out how much insurance is on one.. I know of a few companies that won't insure them at all. Other than that I would definately check out the crash tests on them. I would think that website would say all that on it. I didn't look at the website. Also you might look around because for the price you would pay for one of those you could most likely get an inexpensive used car to run around town in.

By Truestori on Monday, May 8, 2006 - 04:08 pm:

That looks like fun! I drove something similar on Catalina Island. Hubby and I had a blast, and most residents own something similar because only a few people a year are allowed to own cars.I would check with your insurance comapany, just to make sure you are insureable.

By Tink on Monday, May 8, 2006 - 07:26 pm:

We would be buying one used so cost really isn't a factor but an older, reliable used car in this area will still cost us +$5,000. Trina, I am concerned about the safety issues associated with it and will be researching that before we make any decisions. I already have a call into our insurance agent to see just how much it would be to insure but I'm one of those people that tries to get as much information as possible about something...even if it all just confuses me more!:)

Anyway, nothing is going to be decided immediately. We'll make a decision at some point this summer and I've got plenty of time to research everything in the meantime. Thanks!

By Trina~moderator on Monday, May 8, 2006 - 09:45 pm:

Tink, Let us know what you learn. I'm curious now. LOL! Just surfed the site a little and found some more information.

"GEMs can be driven on all public roads that are posted at 35 mph or less, in states that have approved the use of neighborhood electric vehicles. It is an ideal vehicle for local, around-town use. Uses include transportation from mass transit stations to the workplace or home, taking the kids to school or the library, grocery shopping, or other common neighborhood or downtown errands."

"GEMs are electronically limited to a top speed of 25 miles-per-hour to meet Federal Low-Speed Vehicle requirements.

"Many things can affect the driving range of the GEM, including: ambient temperature, terrain, driving conditions, payload, driving habits, battery age, tire pressure and tire wear. It is hard to say exactly what your range will be, but a typical 2-Passenger GEM, used under proper conditions with fully charged batteries, will get up to 30 miles on a charge."

Well, looks like it wouldn't be a good option for my local, around town driving, which is mostly on a busy route that has a 40-45 mph speed limit.

By Dawnk777 on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 01:09 am:

Yeah, we have one road that I take every day to pick up kids and drop them off, that's 45 and I like to go 45! There are other routes, through city streets, that would only be 25, though. I don't think I would want one.

By Kaye on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 08:26 am:

The part that would get me is only 30 minutes. Each of my outings really is about that in driving time, I sure would hate to get stranded.

By Crystal915 on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 10:20 am:

I can't imagine using one of these in a practical sense. You know, you could always come visit me, and buy a car out here (you could get a quite reliable vehicle for under 6), 2 birds, one stone!! LOL

By Tink on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 10:36 am:

Trina, I've read every word on that website. I wish they addressed safety more but I'm not finding much info in that area anywhere. Still waiting on the insurance agent to get back to me.

Kaye, the limit is 30 miles, not minutes and the furthest we would go on it is about 6 miles one-way. The only reason we're considering it is how close everything will be to where we'll live. Main grocery store...0.5 miles, is only two blocks away, the other is 1.5 miles, best friend...1 mile, family...6 miles (maybe, I haven't checked the mileage but that's a generous estimate). I'm thinking you'd have to see our area to understand that this is doable. In our current area, I definitely have to drive 15+ minutes to get to anything.

Crys, by the time we factor in airfare, Rob's time off and gas driving back, I think we're over the price of the GEM. But I know you're looking for any excuse to get me to the Midwest.:)

By Crystal915 on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 01:21 pm:

Eh... airfare is only $250 for a rd trip... ;) But you're right, any excuse to get you out here!!!!

By Kaye on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 03:35 pm:

LOL crys and cori! But it doesn't sound like a bad plan :)

And you are right cori, I would have to see it. In texas miles mostly equals minutes...even in the city we just don't have that much traffic and things are pretty far apart. I drive 15 miles to school, it takes me about 15 to get there.

Used cars here are pretty cheap...maybe you could find a good deal on ebay :)

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