A Hidden GEM


Hank Larsen, Staff Writer

With gas prices skyrocketing electric cars have become more and more popular these days. A tank of gas costs the average American about $43, while the electric equivalent is just two dollars. Some electric cars that come to mind are the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt and the Tesla.

But before full-size mass-production electric cars came into play, vehicles such as the GEM ruled the roads. The size of a golf cart, the Global Electric Motorcar is a practical vehicle that goes on both roads and golf courses. Though only accelerating to 35 miles per hour, it’s more than enough power to get you around town.

Senior Jason Joss is a proud owner of a GEM; his family bought it because of their interest in golf and a need for a small economical car for running errands. “The GEM is definitely a lot slower than other cars,” Joss said. “But it’s a lot of fun to drive.”

The GEM is definitely a fun car, and it’s always turning heads. Joss’s experience with the GEM has been interesting, he says. “It is definitely not the fastest car on Moraga Way,” he said. “So I enjoy making everyone behind me go slow.”

The GEM only has the basic necessities as far as technology goes. It gets a little foggy without a defroster and a little quiet without a radio. In addition, winter nights can get a bit chilly, even with the doors on.

But the GEM nonetheless succeeds in being a practical ride in almost all situations. “It has windshield wipers and headlights,” Joss said. “So driving through the rain is not a problem.”

Joss says he by no means feels like the king of the road while driving the GEM . But when the weather gets warm, he takes the doors off for an exhilarating, open-air experience.

Joss gets a wide range of reactions driving the GEM. “I feel like a celebrity because everyone turns and looks,” Joss said. “Even if they’ve seen it a hundred times.”

A lot of people at Miramonte love the GEM and ask to drive it occasionally but oddly enough some people laugh as it drives by. “But most people think it’s a sick car,” said Joss. “So who cares about the people who laugh.”

Joss says the GEM is easily recognized by all his friends as his, and everyone knows it’s him when he’s driving it. “Sometimes an adult will stop me and show an interest in it.”

The advantages of the GEM definitely outweigh the disadvantages. There’s no need for gas, it’ll fit in tight parking spaces, it’s easy to drive, and you can take it golfing. “People recognize you everywhere you go,” Joss said. “And people always want a ride.”

The GEM may not be a luxurious speed-demon, but it’s a fun mode of transportation that saves trips to the pump and turns heads everywhere. And more importantly, what other driver can take his daily ride onto the course for a good ol’ round of golf?