Skip to content Skip to navigation Skip to footer

GEM® News & Updates

Polaris/Norfolk State University

Success Story: Polaris/Norfolk State University

At Norfolk State University, Going Green is Golden with Polaris GEM Electric Vehicles

When Norfolk State University’s facilities management set out to reduce operating costs, cut emissions and noise, and improve the safety of their low-speed-vehicle (LSV) fleet, big changes started to happen. The school now owns and operates 22 Polaris GEM® LSV vehicles to help with grounds maintenance and utility support. The vehicles are also used to transport passengers around the campus.


In 2014, NSU acquired their first GEM vehicles. The fleet of 10 GEMs was used primarily for maintenance on and around campus. That initial purchase proved to be the start of their fleet, adding 12 more GEMs by the end of 2017, including a six-passenger transport vehicle. Continued attention to improvements along the way has meant the addition of great features – such as three-point safety belts and larger capacity batteries. These features have truly expanded the way NSU and other campuses are using the GEM.


According to Dia M. Hendricks-Hayes, Director of Administrative Services, the goal of acquiring the GEM vehicles was to reduce emissions and noise while containing operating costs and improving fleet safety. GEM vehicles helped NSU meet all those requirements with the added benefit of street legal features that provide flexibility in day-to-day operations. NSU employees are able to move around the campus quickly, in traffic, sidewalks and even across the turf.


Hendricks-Hayes adds that employees who regularly use the vehicles love them, especially the flexibility, range and maneuverability around campus. As a result, the number of departments purchasing GEM vehicles has increased, adding to the University’s fleet.


The benefits shine a bright light on their decision. By choosing clean and sustainable GEM vehicles, NSU has eliminated the need for volatile fuel storage and oil changes within their LSV fleet. Maintenance workers can now focus on the needs of the campus, rather than spending time maintaining the fleet that allows them to do their work – effectively lowering ownership costs by saving on maintenance. The University is also promoting energy independence by using alternative fuel vehicles with no emissions.