Img_8123David Larotonda checks out a GEM electric car on Madison Avenue earlier this year. Yes, the borough vehicles will have doors.

After a short-circuited bid last spring, the Borough of Red Bank is back on the fast track to energy efficient transportation with the purchase of three low-speed electric vehicles for use by parking enforcement.

And this time, the cars are latest-generation design and styling, not merely spruced-up golf carts.

The borough council Monday night awarded a contract to the sole bidder, Remsen Dodge of Hazlet, which will supply a trio of GEM eS vehicles at a cost to the town $11,809 each, for a total of $35,427.

A fourth, identical vehicle is to be acquired by the borough at the same price later this year under the agreement.

Back in early May, the council award a contract for three golf-cart style vehicles called Club Car Carryall 2s to Vic Gerard Golf Cars. Shortly afterward, though, Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said he learned that the vehicles did not meet the speed requirements under state law.

To qualify as a low-speed vehicle, cars have to be able to go at least 20 mph, but cannot exceed 25 mph. The Cushmans could only top out at 19 mph with some tweaking, Sickels said.

The GEMs, made by a subsidiary of Daimler Chrysler, have a cartoony profile, like a giant egg stood on end between two sets of tires.

“They look like something you’d get at Toys ‘R Us,” said one borough hall wag.

redbankgreen test-drove a GEM e2 for a feature story we ran in May.

Proponents say the cars are frugal on energy, and can get about 30 miles per eight-hour charge on a standard 120-volt line. The cost is just pennies per mile traveled, they say.

Downside? Don’t get caught with a dead battery without having an electric outlet nearby, as well as an alternate ride back to your point of origin.

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