The company was purchased by a group of North Dakota investors and was moved to Fargo, North Dakota. Global Electric Motorcars manufactured its first vehicle in April 1998, a 48-volt GEM car that accommodated two passengers and had a top speed of 20 mph. Less than two months later, a significant breakthrough occurred in the market as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) designated a new class of motor vehicle, the low-speed vehicle, also known as the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV). The low-speed vehicle class allowed GEM cars to be driven on public roads if they met certain safety criteria such as having safety belts, headlamps, windshield wipers, and safety glass. GEM cars always come equipped with these safety features, making them a benchmark in the industry.
GEM battery-electric vehicles are street legal in nearly all 50 states on public roads posted at 35 mph (56 km/h) or less. With a top speed of 25 mph (40 km/h) GEM cars have a range of up to 30 miles (48 km) on a charge. They are battery-electric, operate on a 72-volt battery system and plug into a standard 110-volt outlet for recharging, and fully recharge in six to eight hours.
There are currently six different models of GEM cars available primarily suited for intra-city use. GEM cars are used by local, state and national government agencies, resorts, master-planned communities, universities, medical and corporate campuses, as well as by sports teams, taxi-shuttle services and individual consumers.