'02 GEM eL speed?

I finally got the '02 GEM eL on the road for its maiden (to me) trip around town and am experiencing a few issues including slower than expected speeds. On downhill sections I was able to reach the regenerative braking speed and saw 28 MPH on the BDI while feeling the motor slowing the vehicle down and (hopefully) putting some charge back into the battery pack. However, on level roads I am seeing only 23 or maybe 24 MPH on the gauge and the slightest hill slows it significantly to around 20 MPH or so. On any real hills (my city is full of them) the GEM drops to about 15-18 MPH when climbing.

My '02 GEM eL has brand new Exide 115 AH deep cycle marine batteries and the GE T2 controller with (I assume) stock programming. I think it has the 5 HP motor and with only 1450 miles it seems like it should be able to maintain 25 MPH more easily. Or maybe I’m expecting too much from a unmodified GEM…

What do you more-experienced GEM owners think? Is this normal? Should I get the programmer and make some changes to the controller’s settings? What would you suggest? I feel like I’m not getting the full potential out of this GEM in its stock configuration.

Sounds like you are close to what you can expect. They were designed to go no faster than 25mph due to federal regulations. What size/type wheels do you have? Also, let us know how the marine batts work out for you. Most GEM owners avoid those after they try them once. They are not quite up to the task.

Mine has the 12 inch wheels. 165SR-12 steel radials on them. Looks ridiculously narrow to me but I guess that’s what you need for range - low rolling resistance.

I’ll have to put a meter on the pack and monitor voltage under load. My 6 mile round-trip over the hills yesterday resulted in about 15% SOC reduction so that looks like about 25 miles range before reaching 25% SOC. Worcester, MA has a LOT of hills. Many more than I recalled till I started driving the GEM around.

Boy, if I could just get that partially-disassembled GEM from the college nearby for parts I’d make mine a 4-WD GEM by getting a dual-motor forklift controller for it… If wishes were horses and all that.

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