A FEW COMMENTS FROM our friends at Mean Green Machines
Excerpted from a longer article on innovative mower designs by Irrigation and Green Industry magazine, Nov 18, 2016.
For Joe Conrad, president of Mean Green Mowers in Hamilton, Ohio, upgrading is part of his business model. The mowers he makes all run on electricity, and with all the economic and scientific attention on new batteries being developed by Tesla and others, his options are evolving by leaps and bounds. “We started using lithium batteries four or five years ago,” he said. “Before that, we were using lead-acid, just like you’d see in golf carts.”
That switch was important for Conrad, because runtimes had been a common problem with battery-powered mowers up to that point.
Even the most eco-green landscape contractor might balk at having to buy three large batteries, and still only be able to mow for six hours. Now he’s using the same battery formulation that Tesla is just starting to use in its electric cars. The largest batteries can run upwards of seven hours on a single charge.
There are still hurdles remaining for landscape contractors looking to go electric. There’s a large initial investment required. Also, batteries degrade with time and use. However, there are some federal tax incentives that can defray startup costs. Conrad is working to address the second issue. “We make a lithium battery that can be repaired for one-tenth the cost of buying a new one,” he said.
For all that, electric mowers do offer some unique benefits. The most obvious being that you don’t have to manage fuel. No buying fuel, no transporting fuel, no storing fuel, and no emissions from fuel. In addition, not having a gas-powered engine in a mower cuts down considerably on vibration, and the noise it makes.
“We still have some blade noise, but overall, our noise output is half—or less than half—the noise of a typical gas mower,” said Conrad.
We all know that the loud noise of a mower’s engine can cause hearing loss, but it also increases operator stress levels, and can raise blood pressure. Not to mention that on certain properties, such as schools, hospitals and resorts, using noisy equipment can make a contractor persona non grata.