Before storing your GEM, make any necessary repairs and clean the vehicle. Clean the batteries and prepare them for storage.
Store your GEM out of the sun in a cool, dry place. Be sure the storage area is well-ventilated. Avoid temperature extremes when choosing a storage area.
Turn the key off and verify that tire pressure is at specification. Block the wheels to prevent the GEM from rolling.
If your GEM is not connected to the charger, disconnect the main power connector first and then disconnect any electrical accessory connections. Then disconnect the negative cable from the 12-volt battery (if equipped) and then disconnect the negative terminal from the main battery pack.
Cover the vehicle with a genuine GEM vehicle cover. Do not use plastic or coated materials. They do not allow enough ventilation to prevent condensation and may promote corrosion and oxidation. It’s important to note you should not cover the vehicle while it is connected to the battery charger. Dangerous levels of hydrogen gas could accumulate.
For more on any of those procedures, consult your Owner’s Manual.
Batteries can be permanently damaged — and the warranty voided — if allowed to remain with a low charge for 30 days or more. Fully charge batteries before storing. In hot climates, battery self-discharge will increase. In cold climates, your batteries can freeze if not properly charged.
Battery Care During Storage
If you are storing your GEM for fewer than 10 days, fully charge the batteries, park the vehicle and turn the ignition key off. The battery will lose some of its charge during this time.
If your GEM will be stored between 10 days and 24 weeks, leave the charger connected. The state of charge of the batteries will be monitored, and charging automatically will be initialized when the charge drops below 97 percent or when 28 days have passed since the last charge completed. This is most effective for maintenance-free Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries. Water-filled and lead acid batteries require some attention to maintain proper fluid levels.
For indefinite storage of your GEM, disconnect the charger. Arrange for monthly charging of the batteries.
It’s important to avoid temperature extremes when choosing a storage area. Note that cold weather can have drastic effects on electric vehicles. The colder the ambient storage temperature, the slower the rate of charge and discharge of batteries. For an electric vehicle like a GEM, cold weather will drastically decrease the achieved range on a charge. For GEM vehicles with lead-acid batteries, the battery temperature is not factored into the state of charge. If the batteries are stored at cold temperatures, the amount of available stored energy on a full charge is reduced. This is most pronounced at temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius).
If you are completely reliant on the battery meter's state of charge for determining range, charge and store your GEM in a location where the ambient temperature is at least 50 F (10 C) before use. When your GEM has been stored in a warm location, its battery meter will display a more accurate state of charge. This is true even if your GEM is used in colder temperatures as long as it is used periodically and does not sit idle for an extended period.
If your GEM cannot be stored in a warm location, you can estimate the battery range being reduced by approximately 10 percent for every 15 degrees below 80 F. This is shown in the table below.
|80 F (27 C)||100 percent|
|65 F (18 C)||90 percent|
|50 F (10 C)||80 percent|
|35 F (2 C)||70 percent|
|20 F (-7 C)||60 percent|
|5 F (-15 C)||50 percent|
|-10 F (-23 C)||40 percent|
|-25 F (-32 C)||30 percent|
Vehicles equipped with lithium-ion batteries also will experience range reduction because of cold weather, but the state of charge is more accurately captured on the vehicle display.
If your GEM contains flooded batteries, check the fluid level often. Only add distilled water. Tap water contains minerals that are harmful to batteries. See your authorized GEM Dealer for more information about accessory water systems for 12- and 6-volt flooded batteries.
Unless the plates are exposed, distilled water should be added after charging. If plates are exposed, add just enough water to cover the plates. Fully charge the batteries and then recheck the fluid level. Never charge batteries if the plates are exposed above the water level.
Maintain the fluid level between the battery plates and the bottom of the fill well. Do not overfill. The fluid in an overfilled battery may boil over and cause electrolyte to spill.
To inspect the fluid level of each battery:
- Remove one of the fill well caps.
- View the fluid level.
- Maintain the fluid level between the battery plates and the bottom of the fill well. Add distilled water as needed. Do not overfill. Reinstall the fill well cap securely.
The battery plates should be visible when looking into the fill well. Use a flashlight if necessary. If the level is below the plates, add just enough distilled water to cover the plates. Fully charge the batteries and then recheck the fluid level.
See your Owner’s Manual for more information.
Lithium-ion batteries will not accept a charge unless internal battery temperatures are at or above 41 F (5 C). When ambient temperature is at or above -16 F (-27 C), the battery heaters will use battery pack energy to warm the batteries to an internal temperature of 41 F (5 C), at which point the batteries will accept a charge. So when ambient temperature is below -16 F (-27 C), the vehicle should remain in storage until ambient temperature is at or above -16 F (-27 C).
Whenever ambient temperatures could drop below freezing during storage, make sure the batteries contain at least 20 percent State of Charge (SOC). Also keep the charger connected to the battery so it can support operation of the battery heaters and recharge the batteries as needed.