Student’s Corner

Last weekend I saw the new movie Looper. I am not going to review the movie, but if you enjoy science fiction and a gripping plot (and do not mind violence) you have my recommendation.  I will do my best not to spoil anything, but given people’s definitions of spoilers vary, read at your own risk.

As I was watching Looper I was pleasantly surprised by the obvious and varied use of GEM cars. In the future presented by Looper, these small, energy efficient, battery powered cars are everywhere (the picture is a screenshot). And they’re unmistakable – they even have the same magnetic doors as the ones owned by University of Rochester Facilities and Services. Indeed, Facilities has their own fleet of GEM cars for day-to-day operations. In Rochester, the future is now.

GEM cars have a top speed of 25 mph and a range of up to 30 miles on one charge. Due to this lack of speed GEM cars are only street legal on public roads posted as 35 mph or less. They have safety features such as seatbelts, head lamps, windshield wipers, and safety glass. The 72 volt battery system can plug into a standard 110 volt outlet and fully recharge in 6 to 8 hours. As short range vehicles, they are extremely useful for organizations like local, state and national government agencies, resorts, master-planned communities, universities, and medical campuses.
Looper does not have an environmental theme, and the GEM cars were probably missed by many. The movie does hint at some sort of oil shortage, as the cars have funky contraptions where pipes are attached between a car’s trunk to the gas tank.  I would have preferred more explanation – maybe in a sequel. I hope that being featured in a successful movie will increase awareness and use of GEM cars.
By Alanna Scheinerman, Class of 2013

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