Monday, April 12, 2021

GEM cars used in Warner Brothers

A real GEM.

A real GEM.

By Joe Giannone

Electric Cars are making a comeback, with the rise in pollution awareness from environmentalists, and the obvious love of hybrid vehicles and “Smart” cars. But, Mike Harris has an interesting tale of his own, with his electric cars made by one of the first electric car companies, GEM. Mike Harris sells GEM electric cars on Marco Island, Florida, but he also has an interesting story of having these unique cars featured in the upcoming film Green Lantern, and how the studio producing the film got in contact with him.  We will also go into “how” he got involved with the GEM Electric Cars. Let’s explore this!

Two years ago, Warner Brother contacted GEM to have their cars used in the studio’s new film Green Lantern. When Warner Brothers contacted GEM, the company was working with this studio on a product placement deal. So, Warner Brothers looked for a dealer that would allow them to buy the cars that were going into the movie. After the company uses the cars, they would then sell the cars, so when people go see the movie they would have their car shown in a certain scene, and people can be like “oh, that’s my car in that scene!”

After the cars were made for the film, they were sent directly to the shooting set in New Orleans, where Green Lantern was being filmed. The cars were specifically used in two scenes, and the rest were used in background shots, or on set for transporting people and other stuff. After their use, the cars were shipped back to Marco in late July with the cars having anywhere from 4 to 90 miles on the odometers.

Even though Mike has asked to see the footage of the film where the cars were used, Warner Brother declined, because they do not like to expose any part of the film before its release date.  According to Mike, all of these cars will have reduced prices, and they will also supply the federal tax cut as well.

Green Lantern is a film starring Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.  It is about a test pilot who is granted the mystical green lantern ring that gives him otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace in the universe. The film is being directed by Martin Campbell.

Here’s a little history behind Mike’s endeavor into electric cars. Mr. Harris is from Northern Virginia, and moved to Marco Island in 2002, where he wanted to retire and enjoy the good life. He



still enjoys the good life, but when he met Wayne Rose in 2005, he envisioned a new future for himself, and his productivity with electric cars. Wayne Rose is both a resident of Marco Island and Bay Harbor, Michigan.  Mike went to visit Wayne at his campgrounds in Petoskey, Michigan, he saw that all Wayne used was 4 GEM Electric Cars to run his campsite and drive around the area.

In Bay Harbor, Michigan where Wayne lives, the town is known as GEM town. When a person would purchase a home in Bay Harbor, they would automatically receive a free GEM car for use in town. Around the same time,  the CEO of GEM cars, Rick Casper, bought a house in Bay Harbor. After driving these cars around, Mike Harris knew he wanted to be involved in this industry. He did his research and found there were no dealerships in Southwest Florida, so within a year he opened his shop, in December of 2006.

After finding out there weren’t any GEM retailers in SWFL, he flew out to Fargo, North Dakota, where all the GEM cars are made, and he went through a course in GEM car maintenance and from then on, he was a licensed to own a dealership, service the vehicles and sell parts for the cars.

Mike Harris told me that GEM cars are reliable and typically need little maintenance, and when they do they can stay on island.  He sells about 30 cars each year, and was glad to see Warner Brothers involve his company in their film, The Green Hornet.

In the early 1900’s Henry Ford started the production of Model-T cars. Even though, for his wife’s birthday gift that year, he bought her an electric car. Like how video killed the radio star, the electric starter for gas cars killed the electric car. Through this development, the electric was pronounced dead. Not up until the late 80’s early 90’s did the electric car came back into style, even though the invention itself came to fruition 80 years ago.

In 1998, around the same time General Electric Motors (GEM) was started, the federal government passed an act that allowed low speed electric vehicles to be street legal.  In 2000, Chrysler bought Gem, and upgraded their production from a simple assembly line, which was in a warehouse, to a larger motorized assembly line in a large factory.  By 2002, GEM built 10,000 cars. These cars are at the forefront of the Electric Car industry, and Mike Harris is leading this revolution to help protect the environment, and make Green Lantern a cooler film, with electric cars.

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