Making The Switch From Gas Engines
To Battery-Powered Equipment
Today’s landscape entrepreneurs have the unique opportunity to set themselves apart from the crowd by providing their customers with a better service experience and saving the environment in the process. If you own your own landscaping business, you may already be familiar with the importance of purchasing high-quality tools to get your job done efficiently and effectively. However, if you’re still relying on gas-powered equipment, consider making the switch to battery-powered so that you can offer your clients an even better experience while simultaneously helping the environment.
Why Make The Switch?
With the push for advancing California’s clean energy goals to regulate pollutants in the air and ensure that industry operates safely, zero-emission gardening, or e-landscaping, has become a local government issue whereby leaders are considering restricting the use of gas-powered tools. Beginning in 2024, California has banned the sale of new gas-powered engines/tools under 25 horsepower. If local landscape companies and gardeners want to continue operating, they will eventually switch to battery-operated tools for all their landscaping business! Keeping a close eye on what the local authorities intend to do and planning will ensure those landscape companies are ready to make the transition. As a family-run business, we have already started testing the new equipment on one of our two-person crews. Setting up charging stations, monitoring how many batteries are being depleted by the end of the day, and calculating differences in costs with “on-peak” and “off-peak” charging times.
What Are The Costs?
While there are many benefits of using a battery-powered machine, some costs must be considered before making the switch. A zero-emission landscaper will have higher upfront costs with the tools and batteries and the infrastructure costs with the proper setup of charging stations. When considering the number of batteries needed to get a two-person crew through the day and the necessity of charging overnight, the problem becomes magnified by the cost of electricity during “peak hours” vs. “non-peak hours.” The cost of the batteries is significant, considering all they are is an expensive “gas can” with severe limitations- more on that later. They must be charged daily.
What Types of Considerations are needed in Battery-Powered Versions?
In our company Mueller Landscape Inc, we had to consider different scenarios concerning the manufacturer we would use. We knew we would need all the essential power tools associated with landscape maintenance; mowers, weed eaters, hedge trimmers, blowers, chainsaws, etc. The issue was, “How many different batteries did we want to carry around daily?” Remember I said that the batteries were nothing more than expensive gas cans with limitations? The issue is that every manufacturer designs a unique battery, which differs between manufacturers. With a gas-powered machine, we can take a cheap plastic gas can and fill it up from any gas station; it doesn’t matter what station it is; the fuel runs in all the equipment. With battery equipment, you are stuck with the manufacturer’s designed battery. We chose to stick with a manufacturer’s line whereby all the tools use the same battery, including the mowers.
How do you care for your new battery-powered tools?
Battery-powered tools are less robust than their gas counterparts, and they are made of lighter materials to offset the weight and power consumption of the battery. Some mowers still use heavy components, but their battery power runs out long before the day is over. Caring for these tools requires that each device have its dedicated place on the truck or in the van. Transporting these tools is key to getting a long life out of them. The onboard chargers and batteries need to be protected from the weather. Light rain can damage a charger and battery when plugged in, and direct sun can overheat a battery plugged in or not.
What are the benefits of using battery-powered tools?
I have a gas-powered and battery-powered blower at my house, and I use the battery blower 100% of the time. It is effortless to pick the blower up and go. There is no priming the motor, setting the choke, pulling a cord, and revving it to warm it up. When done, I just set it back on the shelf. I don’t have fumes filling the garage, and it’s reasonably quiet.
Homeowners with average track homes will benefit significantly by switching to battery power since there is no worry about maintaining a gas engine, fuel that’s been sitting too long going bad, and gumming the carburetor. Landscape maintenance companies will benefit their clients’ experience by having quieter running equipment and knowing that the company they hired is contributing less of a carbon footprint in their local region.