Brought to you by Daimler Chrysler, the Global Electric Motorcar is a road-legal golf cart designed for local driving excursions where speeds above 25 mph are unnecessary. The car is propelled by a 72-volt GE motor with a 30 mile range, although charging is recommended after about 25. Power is stored in six 12-volt maintenance-free batteries that are recharged via cord that can be plugged into a standard outlet, and the GEM uses the same "regenerative braking" technology seen in full-on hybrids to recapture energy used during slowing maneuvers. Edmunds' editors find the driving experience quite stable and car-like, with motorcycle-esque exposure due to the lack of doors. The real drawbacks are the GEM's relative top speed and its price: it's easy to feel constrained by the car's inability to use major roads where larger, more menacing vehicles travel faster than 25. One must at all times adhere to the route which puts the GEM in the least threatened position, which isn't necessarily problematic, depending on where you live and where you need to go. Then there's the ever-important cost factor. The GEM e4 (four-seater) driven by Edmunds fetches about $9,000, which is getting into Chevy Aveo territory. The premium cost is perhaps a bit easier to accept once you realize you'll never have to go to a gas station again, except to buy cigarettes.

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