Category: General Golf Cart Ownership
Gem Car Batteries

GEM Car Battery Comparison – Why Should You Only Use Gel Batteries In Your GEM

This topic is a frequently ask one and figured we should lay out the facts in an article for our GEM owners out their and potential owners considering the purchase of a GEM car. Being the GEM car is an electric vehicle it requires batteries. And they better be good ones if it is the heart of your vehicles operating system. So lets start at the beginning and get the back story then convey the facts.

Unknown to alot of Gem Car Owners the Chrysler Corp. created the GEM brand and first mass produced electric Vehicle “Global Electric Motorcars LLC” which was later purchased by  Polaris. Chrysler Corp. and Lee Iacocca’s idea of creating a vehicle that was in essence an affordable alternative transportation for the masses that was basically powered by clean renewable energy was simply brilliant. Though in the time and day this dream still had a few hurdles to overcome. Mostly related to battery technology. Just as computers and technolgy have come full circle many times… battery technology has come full circle only a few times. Especially when talking about affordable batteries that will still get the job done.

After much R and D they settled on the Deka Gel 8G31S style battery to power their dream car for numerous reasons we will outline below. GEM owners today have been known to use alternative battery options to power the vehicle because the cost of a true Gel battery is extremely high compared to the traditional lead acid battery most golf cart owners are familiar. As with any problem people come up with different solutions. Which one solves the problem correctly is all in the details. Lithium batteries where around then as they are now and still the most expensive option. Though not nearly as much as in 1995 but still pricey to say the least. review some Lithium Battery Options Here.

Features and Benefits

The benefits of using the original GEL battery installed in your GEM electric vehicle is quite lengthy and for good reason. The engineers at Chrysler Corp. had a daunting task in this day and age to come up with a solution that would power their new Ev. Lets review the big 3.

Charging System – If you change the batteries in your GEM car it will cause a major problem with the charging systems ability to properly charge the batteries you have installed. These smart electric vehicles came equipped with a smart charger that was programmed specifically for GEL battery technology and charging parameters. If you change the batteries expect to change the charger or have it re-programmed by an authorized dealer. Another issue since the sale of the company to Polaris it is hard to come by knowledgeable dealers to do so. Buyer Beware – Be prepared to pay out the nose for this or a new charger at the GEM/Polaris dealer. $1000 and up is the usual M.O. for a new charger. Special note Find yourself going this route anyhow or need a replacement GEM Car 72 Volt Battery Charger Pete has you covered. Here are some alternative options that will get some power back into your battery bank. 

Dimensions – Based on the specific area designed to hold and secure the battery pack. dimensions must be spot on – The replacement and installation of these batteries is quite a task because they are so tightly packed and secured in the GEM aluminum chassis.

General Maintenance – Due to the placement of the battery pack maintenance is an issue for good old traditional lead acid batteries because you will need to check the electrolyte (water) level often and fill as needed. Which would be more frequent than a normal golf cart because the GEM is really a high performance Ev in comparison. The demands the motor/controller system puts on those batteries is substantial. This is one of the major reasons they settled on the Gel battery because they are Maintenance Free!

Performance – Traditional lead acid batteries do not like to get severely or deeply discharged. If they are they become stubborn to revive and will cut the cycle life or life expectancy of the battery in general significantly. AGM and GEL batteries have a great ability to take a deep discharge in stride and recover completely time and time again with the proper charging system and battery charger. Another major determining factor in going with the Gel battery to power the GEM car.

Service Life – This was the biggest hurdle to overcome because of the competition was tough. ( A gas or diesel burning vehicle vs an Electric vehicle when comparing in ease of use to re-power or fuel its drive train.) They couldn’t very well change the batteries once a month like in a flashlight or AM/FM radio not could they. Nor could you even expect a potential buyer to fall in love with a car that required such general maintenance. So the batteries needed to be large enough to allow for a decent range of use but also allow for many charge/discharge cycles. ( AKA – Cycle Life ) So Lithium looked very promising even then due to the batteries abilities but after cost analysis just not feasible for the average Joe. So back to a lead acid variant that would deliver the goods. AGM – GEL Batteries…. At the time AGM batteries where basically military spec stuff only. So pulling the battery technology from their good friends at the Pentagon they started testing. After much debate and millions spent the GEL batteries became the obvious solution to power the vehicles. Especially if climate was included in the testing because the GEL battery will hold up much better in the colder climates whereas in places like Florida the internal chemistry of an AGM vs GEL battery is quite identical due to the heat.

Termination – Designed to be attached in series via ring terminals. As all other components of the system like fuses and charging system. If you switched to a post type battery due to cost savings you would find yourself replacing and changing all your cable ends. So surely not ideal. At the very least make sure you choose a stud type termination for the batteries you choose for your GEM car. If you live in warmer climate an AGM battery like the Trojan is a good alternative and might save you a few bucks without sacrificing performance or service life to much.

In Review

Now that the facts have been conveyed it should be obvious to anyone why you should replace the original Gem Car gel batteries with more of the same. Otherwise overall performance (speed and range) will be limited as will service life based on the amount of charge/discharge cycles of said battery. Not to mention the hassle of trying to maintain a flooded battery. Traditional lead acid batteries are good for approx 200-250 cycles at 50% D.O.D. (Depth of Discharge) so figure 2-3 yrs life if using only recreational. Even less if using for transportation and or you do not keep up with the water levels! Whereas with the GEL battery you can expect a service life more like double that for similar usage and no maintenance issues what so ever other than the need to always charge the battery bank back up to 100% after every use and store in the same condition.

Re-Power your GEM Cart Today with a new set of Deka Gel GEM Batteries! Shop Now! Gem Car Replacement Batteries  

Personally I gauge all my vehicles by how cool they look and how fast they go… I could careless about air conditioning or cruise control, but that is just me. Which brings me full circle to the specific topic of today. Golf carts… Why are they so popular today? Then the how and why we like them conversation. My answer to how I would like one would be FAST!!! but quiet….Actually it would be Really FAST!!!!!! but still quiet. Lets face it golf carts are slow, and compared to my standards really slow. I am the guy that has hit 180-200 mph on the way to work just because I can. Then there is the fact that if you have a bomb under foot sooner or later you are gonna test it! So that means you would need a really fast high performance electric golf cart motor and powerful operating system to make that happen. Continue Reading

This Blog article is for all those people out there that are just not happy with the overall performance of their golf cart and want to upgrade the electric motor. Or the complete system motor, controller, cables and contactors. So the first thing you will need to know is what year, make and model golf cart do you own. See our How to find out what year and model golf cart do I own article if you do not know or where to look to find out.

Next you will need to determine if your golf cart has a Series Motor or a Regen Motor. This is fairly straight forward. You will have several tell tail signs that will help you determine the type of electric golf cart motor and system that is in your golf cart.

How To Determine The Difference Between Series or Regen Electric Golf Cart Motors

Customers ask me all the time for a faster motor or want to make their golf cart faster. I ask what kind of cart do you have? What is the set up Series or Regen? Same answer – I Don’t Know??? How can I tell they ask, so here you go a few basic ways to find out quickly.

Regen Carts – “Golf Carts with regenerative braking systems.”

  1. If you have a Run / Tow or Run / Maint. switch under the seat it is a Regen motor. See Picture below…
  2. If your golf cart motor has wires coming out the end and has a speed sensor it is a Regen Motor.
  3. If your golf cart has a toggle switch for the Forward / Reverse Selector you have a regen cart
  4. Lastly if you are under the golf cart and you see two different size threaded anchor bolts 2x @1/4″-20 and 2x @5/16″-20 it is a regen motor.
Series Carts – ” Golf carts with series motors. “
  1. If you look under the seat and you Do NOT have a Run / Tow or Run / Maint. Switch it is a Series Motor System.
  2. If you do not have wires coming out the end of the motor or speed sensor you have plain motor or Series motor system.
  3. If your golf cart has a handle and throw lever for the Forward / Reverse Selector you have a Series Motor
  4. Lastly if you are under the golf cart and you see two different sets of threaded anchor bolts but all are the same size 5/16″-20 it is a series motor.
  Hopefully this is helpful for those out there looking to purchase a new high performance electric golf cart motor or motor/controller kit. We always say leave comments and questions concerning your golf carts motive power system here should you have any questions or still need assistance. It is also always best to just give us a call prior to making a purchase when wanting to upgrade these components on your golf cart. Pete’s Team is always here to help. 772-247-GOLF
How To and Why Should You Replace the Battery Cables on Your Golf Cart or Battery Bank

Lets start off with the Why… Your Electric Golf Carts system is designed to store energy in the battery bank and distribute that energy to your golf carts electric motor to create motive power to carry you down the road, trail or across the green. The only way you can get that power to the golf cart motor is via the conductors or cables connecting all your golf cart batteries.

If you notice your original golf cart cables are cracked or showing exposed wire during your usual inspections they should be replaced immediately. If your connectors are showing signs of corrosion they should be cleaned and protected immediately with a product like BatteryPete’s Corrosion Block or Preventative. This is because where ever there is resistance it will generate heat but also severely limit the performance of your golf carts electric system. ( Picture a beautiful natural fresh water mountain stream. Come Spring time it is flowing well as the snow in the mountains above starts to melt. (This would be your battery cable system in good form.) Then Mr. Beaver decides to build a nice little damn and block the flow of your stream, this is what you get with the electricity trying to pass thru a electrical system with corrosion on connections, frayed wires, or loose connections. ( Even more so apparent on high performance systems when you would upgrade the motor/controller in your golf cart to provide more speed or torque ) In this case just bigger diameter wires are needed to handle the additional flow of voltage and amperage.

So when the time comes to replace those battery cables you will want to do one specific thing before you dig into your afternoon project. Get your smart phone out and snap a few pictures. This way you have a frame of reference and can go back to if need be to make sure you wire up the battery bank correctly. Usually after removal of all cables and / or before we will clean the area and battery terminals. Depending on how bad they are will determine the course of action. Usually we will hit them with a small wire brush and then spray off with a hose or pressure washer. Water dilutes battery acid and a good time to clean out the battery hold on your golf cart to curb corrosion damage. Also nicer to work in a clean area…

After that we will spray a corrosion preventative on all the battery terminals, let sit for a few minutes and proceed to attach new battery cables to all the batteries in question. Being sure to attach with a SS nut and SS Lock Washer on every connection to make sure they do not corrode or come loose over time. ” Remember – resistance generates heat!” A loose wire under a load ( You holding the gas pedal to the floor for a few minutes) will cause a battery connector to melt straight through to the plastic battery case… ” Which will require a battery replacement or repair ” Both can be expensive! Preventive maintenance is always the best approach to vehicle ownership. Once you have connected all the batteries again with the new battery cables, you should go back through each connection and double check it is snug ( A Good quarter turn with a ratchet on each will ensure success ) Then last but not least another round of spraying some Anti-Corrosive on the battery terminals to prevent corrosion build up.

BatteryPete offers replacement golf cart cables for any make and model golf cart as well as Corrosion Preventative to get the job done right. Whether it is a individual jumper wire lead or a complete set of golf cart battery cables. Available in 2 AWG, 4 AWG and 6 AWG. All of BatteryPete’s Cables and Connectors are manufactured and assembled right here in the good ole’ US of A! If you need a specific cable length or terminal end you can always give Pete’s team a call with your specifications. They even make custom length cable just for your cart or project. All Golf Cart Battery related items are also available here on Pete’s Golf Carts Store as well. Pick up you new set of Golf Cart Battery Cables Today!

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