Global Electric Motorcars, or GEM vehicles (a Chrysler company), are finding buyers among builders because they offer a low-cost, low-maintenance, electric-powered alternative to conventional pickup trucks. These DC-powered vehicles plug into standard AC outlets, charge in less than eight hours, and have a range of up to 30 miles at maximum speed.

Photo: Global Electric Motorcars

To date, more than 38,000 GEMs are registered for street and non-road use, and many are being used as utility haulers in construction, according to the manufacturer. With a top speed of around 25 mph, GEMs are classified as low-speed vehicles and are legal on public highways with posted speeds up to 35 mph.

Seven models include three pickup-bed models with payload capacities that range from 680 to 1,450 pounds. The pickups are two-seaters, while the largest passenger models seat up to six. Three-point seat belts, windshield wipers, laminated safety glass, headlights, and taillights are standard equipment, and all the vehicles are crash-test rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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