Battery life with my new Ride for Fun Motor

Hello fellow Gem owners, I installed a brand new Ride for Fun motor in my 2013 E4 this past Spring. It has more power and a bit more ground speed but I’ve noticed a change in my battery consumption. I installed brand new Gel batteries in my car last year and ran them for a whole season so I know the batteries aren’t questionable. This season it seems like the batteries are wearing down quicker than usual. The past few weeks I’ve been going about 8 miles and using 5 bars on my indicator, which seems excessive to me. Last season I was getting about 20 miles before I was down to about 1 bar. Anyone else find the same issue with the motor swap? I know it has more horsepower but Jim at Ride for Fun told me that motor would consume the same amount of battery life as the old one, possibly less. Thanks in advance

That’s inconsistent with what I experienced. I installed one recently and noticed more torque and top speed but didn’t see a noticeable change in range. I’m running lithium so I have far more range than I need and of course if I’m using all the extra torque and speed a lot, I"m going to see a decrease in range but in general I have not noticed a difference.
If you still have the old motor, I’d test the range on your current one and then reinstall the old one and do the same route to see if there’s a notable difference.

How were the batteries maintained in the off-season when the GEM wasn’t in use? Did they just sit or were they charged once every 10 days (give or take)? Did they freeze?

Car was stored in my ambient temp garage, charger plugged in every few weeks. They didn’t freeze

I considered doing that, thought I would see what others had to say about it first. Without taking a lot of your time, can you give me an idea of what the cost of changing over to lithium, and the best way to go about it? I’ve seen a lot of posts here about lithium upgrades but I’d be interested in what you can tell me having done it. Thanks

Pros and cons as to whether it was worth it or not also


Which motor did you remove ?

Lithium conversion was beyond worth it. I can’t say enough about how much I love my cart after doing it. The cost is an imprecise matter but I’ll try to unpack it for you.
I bought a full pack out of a Volt for $1250 landed at my door (haven’t found this good a deal since). I had enough cells to do 2 cars with a double pack at 96V (somewhere around 90-100 AH but that rating does not compare directly with FLA ratings. I had to buy a new charger to get the full charge, a BMS, wire harness and the voltage spoof. All in I’m about $2,100. However, I have another GEM car that has the right charger already and I would not choose to do the BMS again so I can do my second car for less than $50 in misc. hardware which would bring my average to $1050 which is considerably less than a set of Trojan lead batteries. I went from 10-15 mile range in my hilly neighborhood to >40 miles. I shaved 400lbs from the car and can climb any hill in here at 30+ MPH. There is literally no downside other than the head scratching you go through on the install/conversion trying to make it all fit and being sure you’ve covered all the bases. Its a bummer that you recently bought new batteries because you could probably pull this off for close to the same price if you can find a deal on the cells. I could have easily gone with just a single pack and still nearly doubled my range and gotten 4 cars out of the pack I bought. My goal was max range so I didn’t do that, but for the right application one could.

Very interesting, love the idea, a few questions if you don’t mind. Is the “battery pack” you purchased new or used, where can I purchase one, and my Gem is a 2013 so would there need to be a change to the battery charger and harness? I feel confident enough to do this conversion myself, I would just need a specific set of instructions to do the wiring and charger conversion if needed.

Whatever comes in a 2013. I was told it was a one year only motor in that year car.

My car was a 2002. I don’t know about the 2013 model. Dave @Inwo will know and he’s the guy to get the goods from as well. I found my battery at a junkyard in LA and had it shipped. I haven’t seen them for as cheap as I got it since but if you keep searching you can find the good price. The link is below
You’ll want to play with the different filters and settings to get different results and then call the recyclers. I had to arrange my own shipping and used Uship and saved a ton compared to other options.
There’s a break in 2016 and newer batteries that are a different configuration. Dave likes these better but I got a 2012 and have no regrets or complaints so I’d go for the one that fits your budget best.[|{r&userSide=&userDate=2011&userDate2=2020&dbModel=15.55&userModel=Chevy%20Volt&dbPart=600.1&userPart=Battery&sessionID=12000000126552453&userPreference=price&userIntSelect=2387121&userUID=0&userBroker=&iKey=&userPage=1

I agree. If it was me, pay an extra $1k for 2014 or newer Gen2.
Volt/Spark still best bang for the buck. Use 3p2s to match a Bolt pack. My harness works with 3p or more. And I can supply correct charging information and other parts. New chargers etc. A little more than Ebay prices [$40}, but with good support. @David_Illingworth :wink:
Bolts are like gold. Costing ~$3500 from me or @LithiumGods. Only ones in the country that I know of. Well worth the money if you can’t handle complex wiring of series/parallel Volt modules.

A neat configuration of Volt is 2p2s using 2016 16s and pre 2016 6s modules for 22s.
Ebay generally has both.
I’ve built a few of these and prefer 22s. Better than stock performance without the hotrod issues. :slight_smile:

Back to the OP. It’s hard to give advice because the data you provided doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s more of a Seat if the pants or “you have a feeling” data: example if you would have had a BMS with some sort of Amp gauge to see how much power your stock motor used and then swapped to the R4F or D&D and done the same test we could use that info to point at the culprit.

No one here has done “the Pepsi challenge” with a Stock Gem motor VS a R4F so no one knows for sure how much more or less a aftermarket motor pulls VS a stock motor.

Try this Download Ski Tracks, it’s a Iphone app that tracks your Speed, Distance, Elevation. This is a cheep and easy way of tracking your trip. This is a good indication of how far your going and speed and the elevation your climbing.

Tip #2 try using a volt meter NOT the dash gauge to determine how much battery life you have.

Tip#3 try resetting or Re calibrating your dash battery gauge. Do a search for instructions on how to re set it.

Kinghappy is the master of the Dash battery gauge. Perhaps he has some more tips.

But with all that said, you still have FLA battery’s. My Advice get a lithium pack In your car and enjoy the extra speed and range.

Here is a screen shot of a Ski Tracks ride from my gem

1 Like

Thanks for taking the time to reply. All good advice and I think I’m going to look into the lithium conversion. It sounds like the way to go if you don’t want to drive around staring at your dash all the time. Thank you

Thanks for the info and links. I’m going to start checking with some people I know in the scrap business, and check the links you sent. Thanks again, much appreciated