The City of Santa Monica invited AGZA to deliver a 60" Mean Green zero-turn electric mower for testing on their most challenging turf.


THE MACHINE

MEAN GREEN 60" CXR

Powered by Mean Green Lithium Energy Modules the CXR Zero Turn offers all day mowing with extreme power and stealthy operation. With available horsepower exceeding most commercial gas mowers in its class and maximum torque from the start, the CXR proves that cordless electric mowers can be powerful and extremely quiet. Aerospace designed chassis contributing to low weight and low center of gravity for extreme performance and maneuverability. Cutting heights up to 5 inches with the fully adjustable floating deck. The CXR Zero Turn is constructed of thick 7-gauge steel/aluminum chassis and welded steel deck with aerospace engineered technology making the CXR one of the lightest, most efficient commercial zero turn mowers available.

  • Deck Size: 60”
  • Blades per deck: 3
  • Deck options: rear discharge or mulching
  • Tires: Michelin® X Tweel® Turf airless radials
  • ROPS: Rollover Protection System
  • Optional S.A.M. solar panel canopy
  • Max drive speed: 10 mph
  • Peak horsepower: 36HP
  • Voltage: 48V
  • Batteries: 1, 2, or 3 Green Lithium LEM48140
  • Battery recharge time: Overnight
  • Acres cut per charge: 5, 10, or 15
  • Mow time per charge: 1.75 – 7 hrs
  • Operational savings per hour: $8/hr
  • Battery life: 6000 – 9000 hrs
  • Noise level: 82 dB(A) vs. gas 90 - 95 dB(A)
  • Weight: 800 - 1020 lbs vs. gas 1200 lbs

THE PROPERTY

Every municipal operation is different. Variations in turf, soil, terrain, precipitation, and seasons all affect grounds operations and need to be carefully considered in order to maintain a crew's work production rate. Santa Monica is graced with miles of beautiful palm-studded grassy beach-side parks, but they come with a unique set of challenges.

1.  Onshore breezes blow daily, becoming heavy winds in the spring, layering tons of sand into the first 50 yards of turf along the beach. The sand compromises the grass growth, lumps in uneven mounds, and prevents absorption of irrigation. After a good wind, the sand must be dealt with quickly — within a day or two — before it can settle deeply into the turf and permanently damage the grass and soil. Santa Monica uses a gas Kubota tractor with a front-mounted PTO brush to sweep the sand from the turf back onto the boardwalk for pickup. But this spring the brushing wasn't done, and the turf is sandier and lumpier than usual.

2.  There is a rough mix of grass stock: rye, clover, and kikuyu throughout, plus a thick tufting invasive, and a stiff ground weed known to be toxic to dogs. These parks are very high-traffic, hosting countless tourists and locals, picnickers and sunbathers, yoga classes, soccer and frisbee games. To keep up Santa Monica mows their 90+ acres of parks every week and cuts them very close — 5/8" to 3/4". Unfortunately, grass cut that short dries out very quickly in the sun and wind. What's more, the wind frequently blows the sprinkler spray onto sidewalks and parking lots instead of the grass. Not an ideal situation for a city enduring years of almost unprecedented drought and watering restrictions.

3.  The City has been using a gas reel mower to maintain their short cut. Unfortunately the highly refined and super complex reels are best suited for smooth sports fields and golf courses with consistent monoculture grass. The sandy mounds and rough tufting mix of grasses in Santa Monica wreak havoc on the mower and reels, which unsurprisingly break down frequently. The downtime of an expensive reel mower in regular need of repair, plus the premium cost of parts and maintenance, have contributed to the City's recent decision to shift to rotary ZTRs, including a new 72" gas Toro.

4.  Santa Monica rightly takes great pride in its ambitious record of sustainability achievements over many years. Tremendous time and energy and investments have been made in establishing a walkable community, bike lanes and bike share, ultra-low emission CNG public busses, solar panels and renewable energy, and LEED and Living Building Challenge structures. Add the City's stunning coastal setting, surrounding mountains, and plenty of sunshine, and it's no wonder Santa Monica is one of the most iconic and desireable "quality of life" cities in America. It is unfortunate, therefore, that the ongoing land care throughout Santa Monica remains entirely gas-powered and conspicuously out-of-step with their own green initiatives and near future climate goals. The new 72" gas ZTR might be a better fit for the uneven grass along the beach parks, but it's just more money invested in maintaining an antiquated, noisy, highly polluting operation that directly undermines all of Santa Monica's other wins. 


THE SOLUTION

Every time AGZA introduces electric equipment to professional crews, we are met with an understandable mix of curiosity, hope, presumption, skepticism, and resistance. Usually more skepticism than hope — and we understand. Your job is to get your job done, and you already know what works for you. Change is an unknown and can feel like a burden or a risk.

Are electric tools powerful enough and fast enough for a commercial job? Do the batteries last long enough to make it to the end of the day? How long do they take to charge? If the charging electricity comes from a coal plant, is it any cleaner than a gas tool? Are they heavy? Will they explode? How many years do the tools and batteries last? What are the service, warranty, and replacement options?

AGZA has spent well over a decade on the front lines of these questions, and in a nutshell we can tell you this: the view from up here is incredible! 

On paper, transitioning from a gas operation to an electric operation is a slam dunk. The dramatic savings achieved by eliminating expensive gas, oil, parts and maintenance alone lead to a healthy ROI and compounding ongoing savings. And of course you're slashing your noise pollution by half, and completely eliminating all your carcinogenic fumes, toxic particulate matter, smog-forming emissions, and greenhouse gasses during operations. These are all very unhealthy for your crew, your community, and the planet, despite the fact that there is very little research, metrics, reporting or regulation on these hazards. Eliminating them by transitioning to zero-emission low-noise electric equipment also brings your city's grounds maintenance in line with the increasingly critical health and sustainability targets most cities have established.

But getting all those benefits to work on the grass and with your crew is sometimes not so easy or obvious. Getting you safely, quickly, and profitably over that transition bridge is AGZA's entire job. Think of us as your sherpa guides for the trip to sustainable grounds maintenance!


the trial

Battery electric has improved extraordinarily over the past decade. Innovations in lithium-ion chemistry, integrated battery management systems and smart chargers adopted from cell phones, laptops, and electric cars are revolutionary. All of the health and environmental benefits, combined with clever industrial design, lighter weights, and extremely low maintenance have made it clear that the days of dirty old gas machines are almost over.

That said, AGZA will be the first to acknowledge that battery electric tools still can't quite match gas machines in sheer power — and we recognize that power is one of the key factors in evaluating overall performance. But we would also point out there are many factors that add up to total work production rates, and the many performance benefits, cost savings, and efficiencies of electric equipment do counterbalance the gas power advantage. Further, the gap in raw power between gas and electric is closing more every season. We expect that in five years, there will be virtually no advantages to gas technology at all.

 

Comment