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As technology advancements bring battery powered and electric lawn mowers to the marketplace, many landscapers are asking themselves if electric lawn mowers are any good and if it’s time to make the switch from gas lawn mowers.
Before considering the change to an electric lawn mower, identify the differences between gas mowers and electric mowers so you can make an informed decision. You might even be asking yourself if electric lawn mowers are any good? We say it depends on the brand, but read on to learn more about the benefits of a battery powered lawn mower, and choosing the best mower for your landscaping business.
Electric zero turn mowers have zero emissions. They’re powered completely by batteries and don’t have an engine that burns gasoline. Without using so much as one drop of fuel, an electric zero turn mower produces no exhaust, has zero pollution and puts nothing harmful into the environment.
Electric riding lawn mowers don’t need engine oil changes
Electric motors are fundamentally different than internal combustion engines. Internal combustion engines aren’t anything new or special – they’re engines in our cars, power equipment, etc. that burn fuels like gasoline or diesel to generate power. These engines have numerous moving parts which are lubricated by oil for long lasting life and performance. After a certain amount of use, oil breaks down, becomes less effective and needs changing – a time and money expense in labor and replacement parts. The Gravely Pro-Turn EV will never experience the downtime or the expenses of regular engine oil changes.
Electric lawn mowers don’t have spark plugs, meaning power is consistent and reliable. It also means you’ll never have to spend time or money checking, changing or re-gapping a spark plug. If a spark plug in a gasoline engine becomes fouled (coated in gasoline, oil or some other contaminate), it can prevent the spark plug from sparking. When a spark plug doesn’t spark, the engine may not start or could misfire and result in power loss.As long as the batteries are charged, an electric mower will have uninterrupted power delivery.
Electric motors don’t have an air intake system. That means no time or money spent checking, cleaning or replacing air filters. No matter how dirty or dusty, environmental conditions will never compromise the health or reliability of an electric lawn mower.
Instead of transaxles on traditional commercial lawn mowers, the Gravely Pro-Turn EV uses proprietary wheel-drive motors. Transaxles usually require an oil change after their first 75 hours of operation and every 400 hours thereafter, but the Pro-Turn EV’s electric wheel motors won’t require a gearbox oil change until after the first 250 hours, and then every 500 hours thereafter.
We can't speak for all electric mowers, but the Gravely Pro-Turn EV, doesn’t use belts. Wheels and spindles are powered by independent motors and require no mechanical link from an engine to the mower’s moving parts. That means you'll never need to check or replace a belt or have the surprise belt break and the downtime that follows. And because there are no belt guards or spindle pulleys, you’ll never have to clean grass from those areas again or worry about an obstruction knocking the belt off a pulley.
Without gasoline, your chances for downtime and expense from a clogged fuel line is zero percent. Carbureted (non-EFI / electronic fuel injection) engines aren’t airtight and gasoline isn’t self-preserving. When air meets gasoline, gasoline can oxidize and turn into a gummy film and clog a mower’s fuel system, even in as little as two weeks with fresh gasoline. If it does, your engine won’t start until the fuel system is cleaned by a mechanic.
You can prevent fuel oxidation in carbureted gasoline engines by adding a quality fuel stabilizer to your fuel before putting your mower into storage. With battery-powered mowers like the Pro-Turn EV, there’s no possibility of this happening, nor is there a need to prepare the mower for seasonal storage.
Exhaust and pollution are just as bad for plants, trees and grass as they are for humans. While trees, grass and plants intake carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, it’s a misconception that they like exhaust. Exhaust contains harmful chemicals, soot and toxins which are just as harmful to your plants and grass as they are to the air around us. Switching to electric riding lawn mowers gives your customers, and the world, healthier trees and plants.
In maintenance costs alone, money that would’ve been spent on:
is returned to the pockets of Pro-Turn EV operators.
Owners also avoid paying the indirect costs of that maintenance. Electric mowers spare you the time and money spent ordering parts, picking them up from a dealership, having them shipped to your home and the service or installation. Most importantly, you’re not spending money on gasoline. It's no secret that entry into an electric mower like the Pro-Turn EV is going to be more than a gas mower, but when measured against the lifetime value of the equipment in your fleet, the battery-powered unit proves its worth and payout as an investment. For some operators, eliminating the fuel costs, most of the maintenance costs and time and labor savings of each, switching to an electric commercial lawn mower can start paying off in as little as two years. That means as a commercial owner / operator, every dollar saved on gasoline and maintenance after the first two years is money back into your pocket.
The noise level of an electric lawn mower is much quieter than a gas mower. When the Pro-Turn EV’s blades are engaged, the noise level is similar to that of a vacuum cleaner. Compare that with a gasoline lawn mower, which has a noise level to match a subway train. Quieter lawn mowers are not only safer for the operator’s hearing, but they’re able to operate in noise-restricted areas like around schools, nursing homes and hospitals.
Studies have shown that the lifecycle of electric mowers outlast gas mowers because electric mowers don’t have belts, pulleys or fuel systems that wear over time.
While we can’t speak to other mowers on the market, engineers at Gravely explained how the bearings in the spindle and wheel motors of the Pro-Turn EV are designed to such precise tolerances that they are expected to outlast any transaxle or spindle bearing, by far. Even the batteries on the Pro-Turn EV are designed to hold a charge through the first 1,000 charge cycles. Depending on use, that’s about 10 years and much longer than the lifecycle of a commercial lawn mower engine.
Without vibration from an engine and a system of belts rapidly winding through spindle pulleys, your ride on the Pro-Turn EV mower is already more comfortable than a gasoline mower. Even so, it’s still outfitted with the same comfort features as other Gravely commercial lawn mowers like adjustable steering levers, and a full-suspension seat.
Traditionally, gas riding lawn mowers have had more power than an electric mower. At least, that’s the way it has been. The proprietary battery technology in the Gravely Pro-Turn EV is designed and proven to deliver as much power as its gasoline counterparts.
A gas zero turn mower has a lower price point than electric mowers. The battery technology required for the electric mowers brings the prices up for this type of equipment, however, it only takes a couple years for a commercial operator to start seeing the payout from their investment in an electric mower.
Electric mowers require specialized maintenance experts who understand the technology in these relatively new and lesser-used machines.
However, the factory-created learning materials supplied to Gravely dealers makes the Pro-Turn EV service knowledge more accessible to more dealers in more areas, giving users easy and reliable product support options.
Among the biggest concerns of a battery-powered mower is the combination of cut time and battery charge time. If the battery on your electric mower runs out, you’re done for the day until fully recharged. With gasoline mowers, you can go as far as your portable gasoline tanks will let you. It’s a valid concern if you’re accustomed to other battery-powered commercial mowers on the market today.
Gravely, on the other hand, designed the Pro-Turn EV to give its operators more freedom and capability. The Pro-Turn EV is equipped with four, interchangeable 50-pound batteries. Depleted batteries can be swapped with fully charged batteries in seconds, and the batteries can be fully charged both in the mower or with an offboard charger. Charge time is 12 hours, but a fast charger can juice four batteries in as little as six hours.
Gas riding mowers have always worked great, especially if you don’t mind the little extra maintenance. The strong power makes it a great option for those larger yards. However, if you want to minimize the maintenance on your lawn mower fleet, consider switching to electric mowers.
Consider your budget. Do you have the capital to invest in the electric riding mowers? The higher initial cost does mean you need to have the budget upfront, but investing in an electric mower for your business has even more long-term savings. Gas mowers cost less initially, but their costs grow when you consider gas, oil changes, and maintenance costs. They also have shorter lifecycles than electric mowers, meaning you have to make capital investments in new mowers more frequently.
It comes down to if you want to pay the extra expense now to reap the rewards from your investment later.
Finally, consider how your business fits into the commercial lawn mowing landscape. Electric riding lawn mowers are gaining popularity among residential homeowners and landscapers. Owning electric lawn mowers tells your customers what your business believes in. Do you want to show your customers a deep caring for the environment? Or is that not important to them?
While electric, or battery-powered mowers are still in their infancy, they’re not brand new. With the Pro-Turn EV’s entrance to the stage, commercial operators now have three brands to choose from if they want the benefits that come with a lithium-ion fuel source. And with more marketplace competition, the more benefits are offered to the customer.
The fundamental difference between the Gravely Pro-Turn EV and existing commercial mowers on the market is where they came from. The other brands are battery manufacturers that built a lawn mower. Gravely, on the other hand, is a 104-year-old, industry-leading commercial lawn mower manufacturer. We know our customer, and we know them well. Their needs, their pain points and the blueprints for equipment that performs to the arduous demands of a commercial lawn maintenance professional.
The Pro-Turn EV uses four 50-pound batteries, that’s about 100 total pounds lighter than products that are already on the market. On four fully charged batteries, the Pro-Turn EV can cut between 12 and 15.5 acres, or about four to five hours of continuous cutting time, depending on cutting conditions. But if you need to go farther for longer, simply replace at least two of the discharged batteries with fully charged batteries in seconds.
The battery and battery management system are just a portion of the proprietary designs in the Pro-Turn EV. Gravely builds the complete Pro-Turn EV system. From large wheel-drive motors to blade-slip technology that help protect the spindle motors from incurring damage and more, none of this machine is built with cheap, off-the-shelf components.
Gravely brought the same well-known commercial features to the Pro-Turn EV as seen in its gasoline-powered models. This includes a durable, mandrel-bend frame rail, a 7–gauge fabricated steel deck with ½ protective edge around front and sides, an intuitive height-of-cut selection system, a four-point, solid-post deck hanging system for deck stability, the latest commercial baffle system for a premium cut quality and ROPS, standard. Additionally, Gravely provides its customers with the assurance of a 5-year / 1500-hour limited warranty with no hour limit for the first two years on the Pro-Turn EV.