GEM 2008 E81 eS - Wake up and restoration Project

Picked up my first GEM (or ekart of any kind) via auction last month for use around the farm, possible runs for groceries at the Dollar General just up the street. GEM vin plate shows late 2008 build date - 2400 mi on the clock. Initial inspection found motor with bad brushes and 6 year old, dead Decka batteries.

First step after inspection was to attempt to bring the batteries back to life. I paralleled each of the six 12 volts with a known good deep discharge battery and applied a standard 12 Battery charger to both until the old battery came up to 6 to 10 volts stand alone. Removed the donor battery and let the target charge for a couple of days. Fortunately all six came up to 14.2 vdc and held there with no load for 3 weeks now.

Took the motor to a well known Fork Lift motor rewind shop in Birmingham for a total rebuild. Picked it up yesterday and installed it today. Great job. Runs like a top on first short test hop - top speed showing 21 mph (not wot) - good torque up small hills, moderate whine from motor a gear box box up front. Rides like a short wheel base pick up truck!!

So far so good! Thanks to all the regulars on the forum for the help to this point. Will continue to chronicle the project to share what I run into. Plan is to upgrade batteries to something more modern and lighter weight, add some instrumentation, and make a few minor system upgrades. There are a few cosmetic issues to deal with (peeling plastic) but all things considered, could have been a lot worse.

Happy Ev ing Lite em up!!


Nice man post a pic of it along the way. I love the battery upgrade. Must have in my opinion

Interesting that you said your “first” GEM, will there be more in the future?
Glad you got it running. Show some pics… By the end of next week finally I should have mine functional, but not finished. Will probably always be a work in progress.

Hi Stretch, been lurking on your project - hope you get it running soon! Always thought the GEM was an interesting design and wanted to play with one. The eS at least, is however way too small for my 6’6" frame - doubt I’ll keep it long. Definitely first and last! (Do I hear any offers??)

I have a VW type 181 “Thing” I may electrify instead of rebuilding the gas engine - a little more practical for over the road use. The GEM is really a learning platform to come up to speed on batteries and drive systems (Like your Nevarist (sic)). With the advances in Lithium Batteries - electrifying the Thing is now more than ever a very attractive project.