The Island Roadrunner

all you want to know about golf carts


Global Electric Motorcars is a wholly owned subsidiary company of the Polaris Group founded in 1992 by a group of engineers from Michigan under the name Trans 2. The U.S. based company is a leading manufacturer of zero-emission small electric vehicles with over 50,000 GEM battery powered vehicles sold globally as of 2015. GEM sales shot up after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1998 legalized the use of a new class of vehicles called LSV (Low Speed Vehicles) on public roads provided they fulfilled some basic safety qualifications.

Unlike other groups like Yamaha whose vehicles are exclusively designed to operate on golf courses, GEM golf carts are widely used for many different purposes like transportation and utility vehicles on resorts, universities, corporate canvases and residential complexes. All the same, GEM cars are perfectly viable as fleet carts for golf courses as long as no after-market tires or any bulky upgrades are installed.

Key Features

GEM battery-electric cars are street legal on public roads across nearly all American states with a rated top speed of 35 mph. Further, these vehicles can last for more than 48 km on a single charge which is more than enough for 18 holes although it might not be entirely adequate for regular driving. That said, there are several models of GEM cars with higher capacity batteries that are particularly suited for intra-city use which are operated by government agencies, residential communities, corporate campuses, and so on.

On account of the range of features and upgrades available to support intra-city use, it is easy to forget that GEM cars are also very good golf carts equipped with several innovative technological updates. For instance, GEM vehicles have a “turf” setting to eliminate the possibility of a wheel spin on wet grass. Similarly, the removable trunk compartment can be easily replaced with an attachable rack for golf clubs.

To put it briefly, GEM cars are versatile multi-purpose vehicles that are almost as good on the streets as they are on the turf. They come in several different variants for use as intra-city passenger transport vehicles, high capacity load bearing cars, or fleet golf carts.


GEM golf carts double up as street legal vehicles with the appropriate modifications installed and proper documentation. Fortunately, GEM cars come with features like safety belts, head lamps, wind screen wipers, and protective glass which sets it apart from all its competitors in the industry.

Secondly, GEM electric carts boast a top speed of up to 25 miles an hour perhaps because of their increasing use as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles for passenger transport over short distances. This top speed and power output far surpasses other small low-speed electric and even gas powered vehicles manufactured by other brands.

GEM cars come with very powerful batteries that have a long service life over several hundred recharge cycles. Moreover, its batteries can last for up to 48 km on a single charge as mentioned previously. For a fleet car on a golf course, that is more than sufficient for 18 holes.


Although one of the major advantages of owning a GEM car is its street legal status, its actual utility is quite limited. The maximum speed of 25 miles an hour coupled with its limited battery capacity (compared to regular street legal cars) effectively limits its use to golf courses, resorts, and university campuses for the most part.

GEM cars require up to 8 hours for a full charge which is somewhat longer than the standard 6 hour average. Under-charging your vehicle is never a good idea - everyone knows how frustrating it is when your cart runs out of juice before it finishes 18 holes.

GEM cars are typically heavier and wider than those manufactured by rival brands. This leaves a mark on golf courses and makes it slightly difficult to negotiate very tight turns on the greens. That said, this should not be a major issue as long you select the right variant and avoid piling it with unnecessary add-ons. Be sure to buy a two-seater GEM car for regular use on the course and avoid installing additional after-market modifications. Newer offerings like the GEM e2 feature nifty handling and a surprisingly tight turn radius. 


Today, GEM cars have become a major player in the zero-emission small electric car market globally coupled with rising domestic sales in the U.S. Its vehicles require little maintenance and come equipped with a powerful engine and high capacity battery. Although, these cars can now be legally used on public roads, keep in mind that this class of vehicles are not built like regular cars and lack basic safety features like airbags and side-intrusion beams. In addition to golf courses, this vehicle is ideally suited for use in gated residential communities. On public roads, it would be best to use it as a secondary car.