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In late April, Polaris Industries announced that it would soon acquire full ownership rights to low-speed electric vehicle manufacturer Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) from Chrysler.

Now comes word that Polaris will shut down GEM's existing factory in Fargo, ND and shift all production of the neighborhood electric vehicles to Polaris' facilities in Medina and Wyoming, MN and Spirit Lake, IA. Polaris says the transition will be completed by the end of 2011.

For some 80 current GEM employees, the move means that their days of manufacturing vehicles in Fargo will soon come to an end. Some have reportedly been offered positions at the aforementioned trio of Polaris production sites.

Currently, GEM manufactures six street-legal models; well, they're legal on roads with posted speeds of 35 miles per hour or less. To date, GEM, widely recognized as a leader in the neighborhood electric vehicle segment, has sold 45,000-plus battery-powered vehicles worldwide.

[Source: CBS Minnesota]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, if an American factory has to be shut down, it is nice that it is in a state with unemployment at around 4%. North Dakota is booming, so it won't take long for the employees that don't want to re-locate to get a new job. And I have seen these GEM's in the wild, they zip along nicely. I think someone must have developed a hack because they sure seem to stay with the traffic in 35 mph zones. If I had to guess, it would be that the top speed is at least 30 mph, not 25 mph.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It seems there is a thriving aftermarket for GEM modifications: http://www.ride-4-fun.com/gem-car-motors-reprogramming.html
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, if they would up the LSV rules to allow 35mph instead of 25mph, that could hugely help the NEV market. 25mph is just too damn slow.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Ziv, Your right, Gems are easily modified. Mine goes 40. There are many aftermarket companies that supply and support relatively easy conversions.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Paul, interesting link! At $8k to $11k MSRP for a 2 seat or 4 seat GEM, respectively, another $850 to get up to 30% more top speed (31 to 32 mph) makes a lot of sense! I am not sure the deluxe package (up to 46 mph) is really needed for a NEV to work better, 32 mph is pretty decent. I don't think they offer AC so it isn't like you are going to be going far in it anyway. I didn't see a quote on the price of the 14" wheels which increase the speed up to 40 mph, not sure if the return on the investment would be worth it. $8,300 for a NEV that does 32 mph with a nearly 30 mile AER. Not bad. Now if they had a small AC unit for an enclosed one... 102 degrees today, I know this isn't normal but it does make you think.