Battery Charging Tips

This video demonstrates best practices for charging your model year 2016 to present GEM e2, e4, e6 and eL XD vehicles.

Your GEM is equipped with a battery pack. This battery pack supplies the power needed to operate your vehicle. Your batteries will perform best when recharged fully and often. Recharge the batteries daily or after each use of the vehicle.

Please note:

  • New batteries will not perform to full capacity until they have been discharged and recharged 20 to 30 times.
  • Batteries should be fully charged before their first use.
  • Recharge your batteries daily or after each use of your GEM.
  • Always maintain a full charge on your batteries. For best battery life, avoid discharging them more than 80 percent.
  • Batteries should be recharged at room temperature. Do not recharge batteries at temperatures of 110 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
  • The range of your batteries may be affected by road conditions, terrain, temperature and driving habits.
  • Failure to provide adequate ventilation while charging batteries can result in an explosion. Volatile hydrogen gas is emitted during charging and may accumulate in pockets at the ceiling.
  • Always ensure a minimum of five air changes per hour in the charging area.
  • Always remove any storage covers from the vehicle and open any cab doors (if equipped) before charging.
  • If the charger turns off due to an overheated condition (thermal cutback), remove the seat to improve air flow. Reset the charger by interrupting AC power for 15 seconds.
  • Each vehicle is programmed at the factory for a particular battery type. Switching battery types only should be done by an authorized service technician. See your GEM Dealer for battery-related service.

Battery Charging

  • The on-board battery charger is located under the hood.
  • The State of Charge (SOC) of the batteries is displayed in the Rider Information Center. A “C” is displayed when the vehicle is charging.
  • When your GEM will not be used for 10 days or more, connect the charger. The SOC will be monitored and charging automatically begins when the SOC drops below 97 percent or when 28 days have passed since the last completed charge. This works best for maintenance-free sealed Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries. Water-filled lead acid batteries require more attention to maintain proper fluid levels.
  • Using a non-recommended extension cord could result in fire, heat damage or charger failure. That could result in serious injury or death. Always use the recommended type of cord to charge the batteries.
  • Charging from a circuit of lesser capacity and/or using a cord from the outlet to the vehicle that is not sufficient in wire gauge could create a fire hazard.
  • Do not use a Ground Fault Interrupt (GFI) type of cord on a GFCI-protected outlet.

Standard Charge Receptacle

  • When charging your GEM with the standard charge receptacle, always use a standard 3-wire grounded extension cord of one of the following types:
  • 12-gauge wire with 3-wire grounded, 50 feet (15.25 m) or shorter.
  • 14-gauge wire with 3-wire grounded, 25 feet (7.6 m) or shorter.

Allows follow these precautions when charging:

  • Position the vehicle on a level surface. Make sure the charging area is well-ventilated.
  • Make sure the key is off.
  • Always use the recommended extension cord type.
    Inspect the extension cord for cracks, loose connections and frayed wiring. Never used a damaged extension cord.
  • Always connect the charging cord to the vehicle’s charge receptacle first and then plug the cord into a wall receptacle. A GFI receptacle is recommended. See your GEM Dealer if you do not have a GFI receptacle at your regular recharge site.
  • Make sure the charger uses a dedicated circuit to prevent overloading. If charging multiple vehicles, each vehicle should use a dedicated circuit.
    When disconnecting the charger, always disconnect the extension cord from the wall receptacle first and then disconnect the cord from the vehicle.

Fast Charge Receptacle

When using a fast charge receptacle, always use SAE J1772-approved charge stations and connectors.

To being charging, align and insert the charge station connector into the receptacle until it latches.

The lights on the charge station will indicate charging when the connection is made.

To remove the connector after the charge cycle is complete, press the release button and pull the connector out.

Alternate Battery Charging Method

If the combined voltage of all batteries reaches 36 volts or less, a safety feature in the on-board charger will not allow the charger to activate. Use the alternate charging method to add a small charge to each battery separately. The on-board charger will then activate properly to recharge all batteries to a full charge.

Use a 12-volt battery charger to charge 12-volt batteries. Charge each battery individually.

Use a 12-volt charger to charge 6-volt batteries. Charge in four groups, each consisting of two sequentially wired batteries.

  • Set the battery charger to the medium amp setting (10 to 30 amps).
  • Charge each battery for 10-20 minutes.
  • Move quickly from battery to battery. This is only a residual charge and will dissipate in a short period of time.
  • After charging the last battery, remove the off-board charger leads and plug the vehicle in.
  • If the on-board charger does not recognize the residual charge and activate, repeat the alternate charging method.

Note that it is not necessary to remove or disconnect battery post connections during the alternate charging method.

Battery Handling Precautions

Do not work in or near the battery compartment or on any other electrical component of the vehicle while charging the batteries. Before servicing the vehicle’s electrical system, always disconnect the main power connector first, then disconnect any electrical accessory connections, then disconnect the negative cable from the 12-volt battery (if equipped), then disconnect the negative terminal from the main battery pack. See your Owner’s Manual for more details. This will disable the vehicle by disconnecting the battery pack from the motor. It does not disable the battery pack. HIGH VOLTAGE will be present at the battery terminals and contactor. High battery voltage is always present. Do not touch the battery terminals. 

  • Always make sure that all 12-volt electrical accessories are grounded directly to the negative post on the terminal board. Never use the chassis or body as a ground connection.
  • Make sure vent caps are installed properly and securely during vehicle operation and battery charging.
  • Never connect a 12-volt accessory directly to the batteries. Always connect any powered accessory to the 12-volt terminal board.
  • Never connect jumper cables to any of the batteries on your GEM.
  • Always wear safety glasses or approved eye protection when servicing the vehicle. Wear a full-face shield and gloves when working with or around batteries and electrical connectors.
  • Use only insulated tools when working in the battery compartment.
  • Always keep battery terminals and connections clean and free of corrosion at all times.

For more information, see your authorized GEM Dealer. To find a dealer near you, use the Dealer Locator.
Maintenance tips, procedures and specifications can be found in your Owner’s Manual.