Engineering Department Gets Electric Car


Don’t be alarmed if you see a cute little car that looks like a helicopter without propeller blades buzzing quietly around campus. It is probably the latest research specimen of the engineering department—an environmentally friendly electric car, known as a GEM, that was donated to the College by The Christopher Cutler Rich Memorial Trust.

The GEM, which stands for Global Electric Motorcar, is manufactured by Chrysler and is among the industry leaders in the emerging environmentally-friendly transportation industry. Available in a variety of models, Trinity’s GEM is a two-seat, front-wheel-drive vehicle that is powered by six 12-volt deep cycle batteries. It can travel up to 30 miles on a single charge and can be made street legal for roads up to 35 mph.

According to Chris Wynschenk, engineering technician, the GEM has great research potential. “We don’t have any plans in the works yet,” he says, “because everyone in the department is busy with other things. But there are a lot of things we’ll be able to do with it in the future. It could be a model for alternative fuel or solar power conversion research, or maybe we can look into turning it into an autonomous robot that could automatically drive a person to a predetermined destination. The research possibilities are limitless.”

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