GEM Customer Story Featuring Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories GEM electric vehicle with solar panels

Looking to move away from gas-powered golf carts to a more environmentally friendly option, Sandia National Laboratories became an early adopter of electric vehicles (EVs). Sandia began the transition to EVs in 2002 with the purchase of GEM Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs), allowing the premier national science and engineering lab to supplement its motor vehicle fleet while reducing carbon emissions and operational costs.

“As one of the nation’s largest national laboratories, Sandia is serious about reducing our environmental impact as much as possible,” said Nick Lovato with Fleet Services at Sandia National Laboratories. “Our fleet has more than 200 street-legal GEM vehicles including our originally purchased GEMs, more recent GEM e4s and solar-powered GEM e4s. The legacy vehicles continue to serve us with periodic battery changes.”

With significant installations in sun-drenched regions of New Mexico and California, Sandia’s Facilities Energy Management team and Fleet Services organization established a goal to harness solar power to create a more energy-efficient campus, reduce grid-tied energy use, increase renewable-energy, and implement solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The dependable and emission-free GEM vehicle modified with a rooftop solar panel did just that. Anytime the vehicles were left outside in the sun, they recharged themselves without needing to be plugged in. And this happened frequently at Sandia, with no official ‘garage’ to return vehicles to be plugged in at the end of the day or the end of the week.

Nearly two decades later, Sandia continues to purchase all-electric, street-legal GEM vehicles from Waev, not only due to their small carbon footprint, but also the reliability, maintenance ease and maneuverability in narrow spaces. Additionally, GEM vehicles are DOT certified and equipped with federally regulated and approved safety features, such as three-point safety belts and LED brake lights. Today, Sandia purchases all its new GEM e4s already equipped with solar panels direct.

“The OEM solar panels enable us to continue reducing our electrical infrastructure load and extend the usable range of the vehicles,” said Lovato. “As the fleet expands to include more solar panel-equipped vehicles, we have seen a significant decrease in service calls, saving fleet time and resources. The solar-powered GEM e4s have also allowed more departments to get vehicles despite not having convenient charging access, further reducing our environmental impact.”

By supplementing its motor vehicle fleet with emission-free, solar-powered GEM vehicles, Sandia has been able to meet federal oversight guidelines as well as significantly reduce overall fleet operating costs through maximized vehicle efficiency and reduced maintenance costs. Additionally, batteries are equipped with an automatic shut-off to prevent overcharging and extend their lifespan. Sandia uses its solar-paneled electric vehicles at their Albuquerque, NM, and Livermore, Calif., sites to move people and cargo from location to location. They are also currently exploring options to reducing reliance on their fleet of micro-trucks for maintenance personnel and replacing them with solar-powered electric vehicles.

Sandia National Laboratories also has been recognized by the White House for these efforts, having received a GreenGov Presidential Award – earning the “Green Innovation Award” for developing and implementing the photovoltaic (PV) powered carts.


Thinking about transitioning your fleet to electric-powered vehicles? Visit learn more about the benefits of GEM vehicles, or contact our Federal Government Team.


About Waev Inc.
Waev Inc. provides access to safe and dependable electric vehicles through the manufacturing, distribution and support of the GEM, Taylor-Dunn and Tiger product lines. Founded in 2021, Waev is redefining EVs to make life and work easier, more efficient and more enjoyable. This is driven by our commitment to sustainable, safe, future-focused solutions that lead to the adoption and advancement of electrification without compromising the job or purpose of the vehicle. Our collaborative and agile partnerships stem from these shared values and common pursuit to advance mobility.

GEM has been an established EV leader in the LSV space for 25 years. Taylor-Dunn has a rich 75-year legacy of providing tailored industrial vehicles. Tiger heavy-duty tow tractors have been towing cargo, baggage, parcel, and other equipment for ground support applications since 1981. All vehicles are engineered and produced at the Waev headquarters and manufacturing center of excellence in Southern California. Visit us at and follow us on LinkedIn.