Is a near-50mph GEM right for me?

Greetings GEM Experts!

Newbie to the forum/searching owner here. After reading a ton of posts I think my use-case can be solved by a modified GEM, and I’m looking for feedback from the collective mind…

My use case: several months of the year, we are at an RV resort in Palm Springs. We are allowed to have electric golf cars inside the resort. We have gotten rid of our second gas car, so the idea of a second “vehicle” sounds good.

The trick is this: inside the park you really want a ‘golf cart’ - easy on, easy off, low speed, open and conversational. BUT, if we aren’t going to have a second car, it would be nice to have the “golf car” also be the emergency “get to Home Depot” vehicle. BUT, our resort’s front entrance is on one of the Coachella Valley’s insane 50mph roads, so a typical LSV is just too dangerous (we aren’t talking about strictly legal yet).

So, we’ve got a 90% low speed use-case, but a “I need to be able to not be insanely dead on a 50mph road for a quarter mile” 10% use case.

My thoughts/questions/notes:

1). After reading a bunch of posts, it seems clear you can get a GEM at least near enough to 50mph to be able to survive a few blocks. (Yes, I fully understand it isn’t technically legal).

2). An E2 with golf cart back jump-seat for occasional in-park use would be ideal

3). Unfortunately, I don’t have the time necessary to find/modify/test to get to a finished product. I’ve seen a few people mentioned as the suppliers/experts – is there anyone recommended that might be able to build be a complete-ish product?

4). Am I missing anything?

Thanks for having this forum and for any and all feedback,


50 mph give or take is very achievable these days thanks to a number of the guys here.

Legal with GEMs is a funny thing, yeah, traveling over 25 mph is not permitted per the DMV & DOT classification of an NEV or LSV, and its probably in the vehicle code somewhere, but who is going to know it or look it up? Technically NEV & LSV arent supposed to be on roads with speed limits over 35mph, just like farm equipment, but like farm equipment & heavy machinery, if you arent holding up traffic, Ive found that no one seems to care. At least up here in NorCal anyway, where its mostly all ag land.

I used to say “What cop wants to have to stand up and give their shift report and say ‘I pulled over a golf cart’” and then i got oulled over… story for another time, not for what you may think.

You get into an accident at 50mph and all bets are off with what the insurance will pay on.

To go 50 mph you could be looking at replacing / major modifications to the motor, gearbox, motor controller & drive electronics and battery system.

How is the terrain there? Flat, slight inclines or real hills?

Do you want a classic body (2015 and earlier) or new style?

I know what it would take to make a classic move like that, not too hard really, but i cant speak to the new body style aside from the eM which has very little in common with any other gem, ever.

@AssyRequired @Erniea15 @grantwest @LithiumGods @Inwo @MikeKC @djgabriel2004 @dougl

low 50s is doable. I top out around 52-54 on the flats with my 2016 e4 (new style). It’s “high” voltage, I swapped the motor, gears, controller, batteries, etc - probably 5k to make it get that performance. Pretty sure you can do that in an older style too.

I think @grantwest has long stretches of high speed as well and does it all the time without a problem.

e2 though? I’ve heard those aren’t as stable at the higher speeds because of the smaller wheelbase.

Basically dead flat. A little dip here or there for drainage, but flat as can be.

No real preference - just a well performing car(t)

And little option to quickly get to and use a side street since they all seem to be 45 and 50 MPH

Going a few blocks on a 50mph road at 25mph isn’t a problem, especially if there are multiple lanes
You could easily drive on the shoulder for 1/4 mile
Really no different than towing a trailer slower than the speed limit.
If there is a few cars behind me I pull over & let them pass
Many times I go through neighborhoods instead of main roads, the travel time can be quicker since there aren’t as many lights
Stock acceleration from a stop is about what an average car is
I drive around in a stock e2, it’s rare someone rage passes, I’ve had more people pass [including LEO] to get a better look…
I think the consternation over the max speed of 25, doesn’t reflect a real problem
I see people smile, point & wave

And it is as bad or worse for us in Indio. Avenue 48 (the road outside our resort) is 50, and most of the surround streets are near that. My route to Home Depot/Costco/BevMo/ramen is about 1 mile at 50 mpg (with about half of it having large shoulders/bike lanes), then about 1/2 mile at 45mph, then the rest in oversize parking lot streets.

Grocery is about 1.75miles on a 50mph road, but it is a major road and 50 quickly becomes 60 and I’m not sure I’d do it in a GEM.

For fun: the city has a ‘golf cart program’ that only has a few streets in it - not sure how you would actually get anywhere using them…

City of Indio Golf Cart Transportation Program | Indio, CA

Sadly, no shoulders - all urban.

6 lane road (3 each side) with 50mph being the law-abiding slower folks - plenty run 60.

I so wish that were available. The Coachella Valley is full of gated communities, and there are no neighborhoods between us and where we want to go.

In many instances that is definitely true. Unfortunately for this use-case, 25mph on those roads would be downright dangerous and I would never do it.

Here’s a link that shows the kind of roads I’m facing - street view tells the story…,+79795+CA-111,+La+Quinta,+CA+92253/Ralphs+Pharmacy,+Jefferson+Street,+Indio,+CA/

Just finished a Fork Think Build, with 72volt lithium and a Navitas AC motor and controller. The frame was cut and the diff was machined to fit the big motor. It easily does near 50MPH and is fairly stable. The entire ford electric was removed and replaced as if it was an EZgo TXT… I will share more info as time allows. I would upload pics but I’m a newbie in this forum and have no clue how to embed an image!

Looks as if I’ve been granted the ability to add photos…here are a couple images

To be clear I’ve ridden motorcycles on the street for 50 years with wild abandon, I like going fast

The danger you are anticipating isn’t evidenced by the map or my experience driving my GEM in & around Reno
Doubling the topspeed is going to increase your danger more than going the slower than the speed limit
Rolling a GEM at 50 is exponentially more destructive to passengers & equipment than at 25

While there is plenty of opinion propagating the notion of the danger of going too slow, I haven’t seen any data in support
You will find some data talking about speed differential on limited access roads [freeways].

The best thing you can do to improve safety is increase your visibility
A car the color of the road [black, silver, grey] with uncool lights & reflectors removed, will be more likely to be in an accident with the other driver saying “they didn’t see you”

If you are determined to build a hotrod, stick to 2nd generation or newer, the brakes & suspension are improved
Doors help you & your passengers feel safer at speed, the open thing can be disconcerting

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I’d push back a bit on my driving conditions - namely a 6 lane 50mph road is nearly a limited access freeway (and the drivers in this area treat them as such). We also have a large senior population - you’d think that would mean more slow-moving cars, but it mostly means less-observant drivers.

As for rolling - I can’t disagree with your assesment - though with almost uniformly straight roads it is a lower-level concern.

That’s definitely a good piece of data. I think a 2016+ car as a baseline is the best bet.

Now I just need someone to sell me a dialed-in 2016+ car… :slight_smile:

I know of one for sale.
Biggest tesla battery ever in a gem. 24s tool box.
12:1 gears
Runs 50mph, on oem 5kw motor which needs to be replaced as its being pushed to 38kw. (50hp)
He had a big motor but sold it when he decided to put car back to stock and sell it.
A new big motor is $1500.


Gem porn warning:

25kwh Tesla battery 88v:

Planned motor upgrade 15kw 50php.

Ah, that’s really good GEM porn.

And a phone call is imminent… and it still might be coming for some Inwo love yet! :slight_smile:

@Normscarts do you have a pic of the gearbox ?

Best I can get, its crowded in there. We drilled and tapped the motor side to accept the bolts.

You put a dana type motor on the Ford graziano gearbox?
Motor length cleared the frame?

I normscart is getting 50mph from the little Navitas motor, maybe I’ll take some time tuning the oem 5kw motor, before switching to the 15kw.