RE: All battery questions

Many of us, who have converted to Lithium batteries, do not understand the continued discussion of buying new gel or liquid acid batteries. The market is now saturated with excellent lithium batteries. Most are merely modular components that power vehicles like the BMW I3 or the Volt. Whether your interest is 8 volt or 12 or any combination up to the power that your require (72? 96?), you merely purchase the modules that add up to your final voltage need. Instead of 300 good charges, up to 500 compromised charges, you get over 5000 charges. Then, what happens? They merely drop to 80% of their original max, and KEEP going. Thus questions about complete loss of batteries, maintenance of any kind, are all gone. I have the Lithium Manganese modules that are used in the BMW I3. They cost less than the largest Interstate 230 amp hour batteries. I went lithium last year, have double range, 10 miles per hour higher speed and just plug and play. BTW, the charger is sold through Texas and is set for the exact lithiums that you have; my charger is primed for Manganese, rather than the older Phos. The charger and custom programming was $100 total. So??? I have Lithium Manganese (look up the specs) and a new charging system - ALL for less than the price of one set of Interstate batteries. I have posted this, because I am frustrated with the constant other posts here about replacing gel or acid every few years, and problems with the chargers for those, and the limits in performance, even when maintained perfectly. You can tell that I do not miss old battery technology.


How easy is it to change to Lithium batteries? Can I just swap them out for mine as that is about my level of ability?

Allan Bullock has many voltage configurations available to him by Bosch. Just tell him the batteries that were in your cart, and he will tell you what combo of Bosch to get. He also could suggest a charger for the voltage that you are considering. Bullock’s phone is 925.292.8565.

Though I installed a several hundred dollar monitoring system. I find that I do not use it. Once you get to know your new batteries, you only need a regulated charger that will kick out and a simple voltmeter on the dash. I know when to charge, just by looking at how many volts my batteries have dropped.

My install is seen here under a Smart battery post. Check it out, under my handle.

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Why isnt there a plug and play option out there yet? It seems like there is a market for them. I would definitely buy lithium when its time to replace my gels. I just dont think im confidant enough to buy all the components and then put it together.

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The only plug and play is the Smart Battery company. You will pay 6 times the price for more inferior lithiums.
This conversion is worth getting a good electrical mechanic to do it for you. Even after you compensate him, it would be a wonderful deal. I am an old guy, and did not want to do the physical. I bought everything that was needed, and gave all the parts to my trusted mechanic. He has now become the best basic EV guy in our little village because of the assignment. If you go to the Smart Battery topic here at Gem, you can see how neat and clean the install was. The plug and play are the worst old fashioned lithium phos with built in chargers/management in each casing = each a single 12 volt battery. The lithium manganese that are being offered as surplus from BMW and Volt are true commercial grade, meant to power full sized cars for great distances. My example at the Smart Battery post is not a GEM, but the rules are exactly the same.

How did you find a mechanic that could do this kind of work?

Contact your local high school shop/mechanic teacher and ask for a reference to such a fixit guy. Contact the local golf course grounds keeper and see who takes care of their carts. Word of mouth is great, after you get in touch with the correct group. There are really some guys, still out there, who love the challenge of what would be a simple kit…for them. Then there is always you. Even if you do not consider yourself such a fixit person, the available modules are really plug and play, in that you are placing them in series (just like you do your little AAA batteries in remote controls). The lithiums just take up a lot less space and weigh a lot less. So, you will have extra space all around the original storage area. The guy that I listed would give a diagram of how to connect his products, to get to the final voltage that you desire. The only thing really different after that basic install is the need for an appropriate lithium charger. The ElectricRider guys sell a bunch of Chinese chargers, at voltages up to 72 volts. They will set it exactly for your batteries. They did for mine, though I use the the lower voltage charger. Charges safely and cuts off well before upper limit of your set.

BTW, I installed an expensive battery management system and then a battery monitoring system. I find that none of that is necessary !!! If you have good lithiums, and a charger, like from ElectricRider, then the charger will do it all. I need none of that sophisticated monitoring. Rather I only need a simple voltmeter on my dash. When the voltage is still good, well above the cell’s bottom limit, I top it off. I only charge about once per week, getting 40 miles of local shopping out of the batteries. Many times I actually do not go for a complete charge, unplugging the charger a volt or two below the max and when the charge would normally turn off. That has to do with extending the life. But, for their polarization, every two weeks I do a complete charge with the lithium charger sensing the max and shutting down. So??? I only really need a good voltmeter on my dash.

Should mention one other thing. If you are not going to be using the GEM for a while, completely disconnect one terminal of the battery bank. There are several possible drains on the batteries, while just setting around. That disconnect would be good advice for any type of battery owner, IF the car is to be unused for more than several weeks.

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Sounds like you have figured all this out from the comfort of your Lazy Boy. And your toolbox consists of Google and a Credit card. LOL LOL

I didn’t see you List a cost for your conversion, you listed the prices of the various parts but you left out what it cost you to have someone do it for you. My guess is you have $4k in this project.
I for one am a huge fan of lithium Conversions. But me personally I wouldn’t install and trouble shoot a gem car Lithium conversion for anything under $2k so if you have $2k in equipment and 2k in a install that’s how I came up with my #

And I have to disagree with you on your lack of a BMS. To each his own many have installed a Lithium with out one, but I like to be able to sleep at night knowing if my charger accidentally overcharged a bad cell that I would not wake up to a Towering Inferno. But like I said to each his or her own.

The major problem is not everyone has a “Mechanic” that’s willing to take on such endeavors.

What would be helpful is a Master List of Mechanics in local aeras willing to take on such a project

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Why is there always an ■■■■■■■ waiting on any site, about any topic, with nothing to add other than ridiculous criticism that only ends in pointless smear. I am only answering this post for the others, the open minded, on this site.

My vehicle is 25 yrs old. It first ran on lead acid. I had a GEM “type” cart vehicle in 1973, and 7 different electrics since. I have personally taken this present car apart and reassembled it, completely, many times. Did it for fun, as much as to help function. But, physical limits and damage happen to everyone, eventually. For this last conversion, I did the electronic diagrams, planned the layout, bought every part and supervised the install. I did not do the heavy labor, especially the removal of the old lead acid. The total cost of my lithium manganese batteries was just under $1000 total, because I only needed 42 volts. Of course the price will go up for a GEM. Helped a GEM owner do the same in my village. The price increase, however, should not be linear, or the open minded person is not dealing with the correct supplier. The BMS was supplied by the same person who sold the manganese, cost $100 and is always drawing some current. Since the charger has a sophisticated BMS also, the original BMS is not needed. I found a Victron SOC system for less than $125. That is the system that I refer to as being used for the accurate voltage. SOC and all other parameters supplied by Victron are not necessary, if you know that your lithiums were just charged correctly and that they hit a max that is still well within their TRUE max. Once you see that voltage, which is 42.2 in my case, you need only follow voltage down and note performance. As it is, I never truly drain the batteries, choosing to put a little back in when I get down to what used to be my max with lead acid (36v) Thus, I am still moving near top speed, even when I top off. I save that 42.2 complete charge, with automatic charger shut off for about once every 2 weeks…following the BMW and Tesla suggestions. So, in my case, at only 42v, I have $1378 in batteries, BMI, and SOC. The labor, that I could no longer do, was supervised by me (I am 70 years old and have been in radio and electronics since the age of 9, and now have an Extra Class Amateur Radio license) and I paid for that install the very old fashion way…by barter. I gave the mechanic some parts that I had laying around. So, it is difficult to say exactly how much that I have in labor. All of this was the point of my article. Do not let standard approaches keep the open minded from being successful and cost effective in a conversion.

The original dealing, the various combos, the finished look and appearance, et al, are supposed to be fun. Or if not??? No, then don’t do it. BUT, owners of anything are not going to have trouble free performance with even the best commercially manufactured device. It would benefit any owner to know exactly what it is going on under the hood, under the seat or in the back. *BTW, please note that I have always referred to the lithium manganese - that standard immediately gets you away from many depolarization and other problems.

A master list of mechanics sounds great. In the absence of such a list, I would still contact local trade schools, especially the teachers. The local high school, here in NM, actually took on a conversion for a citizen, so that the kids could have the experience. But, it was always supervised by the knowledgeable teacher. There are many ways to get the job done.


let me help you out some . i’m the first guy to do a lithium manganese conversion on a gem . that was over 4 years ago so i have a lot of time tested real knowledge . have done multiple conversions , helped gwest do his first (now he has done many ) helped inwo with his first he has done many AND will sell you a KIT . inwo is a retirerd electrical engineer that knows his stuff . He was the first one to push a gem over 85v (my limit) to over 100v . he can sell you everything you need to drop in a conversion and all of this stuff has been tested .(also you dont need a new charger , Dave can load lithium algorithms into you Gem charger and your good to go )

just email him and you are good to go .

electriccentric , what voltage are you charging your cells to ? where are you located ?

fyi . i have 6,000 lbs of lithium cells in my garage as we speak , so i’m kind of into it:upside_down_face:

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Im not interested in doing this now because my gel batteries are still in good condition. When the time comes I would prefer more modern technology. The weight savings and speed increase would be nice. Right now with 14 inch tires I can cruise between 31-33 mph when im alone. I notice at 80% battery power my top speed drops to 28. I’d love to hold a continuous 35-40mph.

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No BMS here these Lithiums are stable. I don’t think it’s necessary. Just check your cells once in a while and monitor voltage… Anyone burn down their GEM yet? I think it’s 50/50 BMS or No BMS. I think it’s more likely the BMS fails then a battery issue, and just another battery drain…

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Wow. I am fascinated by these “new” batteries. My gels are almost new but the previous owner let them sit for a year and they are pretty much toast maybe a 5 mile range. I checked out the smart battery site. Holy smoke $7800 for a set of batteries. As much fun as the gem is, it isn’t $8000 fun…2007 e6. phil.

It is my understanding that the e6 has lots of room for batteries.
If it’s anything like my el, room for a full Chevy volt pack.
$1K to $5k 50-100 mile range.
I have 1/2-2017 pack in my long bed.
There is a 2014 half pack on eBay now for $1k delivered.

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I checked with Allen (Allen was incredibly helpful and really seems to know his stuff). He told me that new Volt batteries would be $3,200 plus shipping. While that is less than the Smart Battery Company by half, it is still about double what I was expecting. I do see used batteries on ebay out of Volt cars for $200 to $300 for 48 volts, I assume that I would need two or three of those for the e6 (I have 6 Gel batteries in it now). Exactly which batteries do I need and how many? (by the way, Allen told me that he no longer carries the Bosch batteries made for the BMW e1, they got to costly and they are no better than the Volt batteries made by LG Chemical). Thoughts. Phil

Volts are becoming the go to module for Gems. Many on here can share their experiences.
Most of it has been though pm’s. I wish they would post it in public.
I can invite you to some of the pm’s if you want.
The ones I linked to in another post are <$250 delivered. You would need 2 minimum, if you want to test the waters. That would get you 10-20 mile range and you would be stressing them pretty good.
4 is better.
Do not buy batteries from someone selling Volt 48volt or 72volt modules.
As they are not, and only sold as such because, who would buy 44 volt or 66 volt batteries?
There are ways to make them work, depending on what level of performance or hotrodding you want.
Ask Ryan for his opinion. He started with 80v then when to 88v. All with the same set of Volt modules.

Other than the $1k for batteries, I recommend a bms monitor to keep an eye on cells. (for safety) Not needed, but how much is peace of mind worth?
The DQ charger can be reprogrammed by sending it in or renting the programmer. Ask Steve about that. He has my programmer now. :slight_smile:

Total cost should not get over $1,500 DIY.

Not unbiased opinions, as I make and sell Volt specific conversion parts.:zipper_mouth_face:

And there’s Ryan now…:grinning:

His guy is ok. He lists them honestly as 3.7v per cell. Although my pet peave is still calling them 48v.:tired_face:

OOh, ebay guy just sold one. Only 4 left at $215.

I should buy them myself!

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