I currently have a 2011 GEM eL XD with the Max Box (one of the last made by Chrysler).
Actually I just sold my first GEM which was a 2011 eL (not heavier duty XD) from later in the year under the Polaris name. With new batteries, tires & wheels, upholstery and a few other things I sold it for $4,800.
I started our love affair with GEM soon after self-installing a 60 panel 20.1 kWp solar array with Suniva panels and Solar Edge inverters in 2016. It’s funny how having that solar array makes a guy want to start swapping out everything for battery power… Switched to Ego outdoor equipment last spring and just ordered a Robomow Rs630.
Now, I am looking to do a variety of upgrades on the GEM
- Lithium battery conversion
- 7.5 hp Ride-4-Fun motor that has been sitting in a box for about a year
- On-board solar charging using a spare 340w 72 cell 37.8v panel on the roof rack
- On-board 72v to 110v Inverter to create a rolling power supply
- LED lighting and maybe some RGBW just for fun
The combination of the Panel + Battery + Inverter by definition should qualify the system for the same federal tax credit I used when I installed the solar array & equipment in 2016. The system would be able to collect, store, and supply energy to my home. As my GEM is currently charged from the large array in my yard, I would almost say that it already qualifies but I felt that was a stretch. 2019 is the last year for the full 30% tax credit before the phase out begins.
Lithium Battery Conversion
The GEM I just sold went out with an almost brand new set of DEKA group 31 Industrial AGM batteries at a cost of about $1,700 that I installed. My “new” GEM that I bought at auction last year for $2,800. year came with a mismatched set of flooded lead acid batteries. When I tested them with a multimeter I found that 3 of them are okay, 2 of them are internally reverse polarity which I did not even know was possible, and one shows zero volts which means it is toast.
So I started battery shopping! I had looked at the solution offered by the now defunct company Lithium Boost with a bank of chargers paired to 22 individual Calb cells. Then I stumbled upon the idea of utilizing Chevrolet Volt modules with BMS which seems to be a fairly popular approach on this forum. I found an eBay seller selling volt packs but he seemed sketchy. I am glad I found this GEM forum and in particular @Inwo & @grantwest. David had a couple of compelling options:
- Using 50 of his green 3.2v nominal cells in 2p25s to create a 120ah+ pack (BMS not needed)
- A portion of Chevy Bolt battery unit that he had to break down to create a 20s 160 ah 12kw pack.
I saw the video Grant had with a split pack and a Chargery BMS. I ended up opting for the 20s Bolt pack split in half & stacked to fit in the back half of the battery tray. It would fit lengthwise with small modification but I wanted to save room up front under the seat for other equipment such as the inverter, solar MPPT boost charger, etc. David is assembling it with a 24s Bluetooth BMS. I wanted a BMS and more power (like Tim Taylor). I think the cells are LG and the Bolt has only been out for a couple of years, so these are newer tech as well. Sure, it costs more but with David it’s a bargain at any price.
David is already working on the Bolt pack
Not David but interesting info on the Bolt battery
More on other aspects of my GEM upgrade coming soon.