Battery-powered equipment

From all the information we have been able to gather and interpret, battery-powered grounds-care equipment is a long way from being the solution. Most experts agree that it is going to take a quantum leap in battery technology before this can happen. This point is made very clear by the downward revision of government requirements for battery-powered vehicles in their fleets. These numbers have been revised for one reason: Battery-powered heavy-duty equipment still cannot compete with the power and performance supplied by internal-combustion engines.

This is not to say that battery-powered products don't have a niche. In fact, Briggs & Stratton manufactures a battery-powered lawn mower. This piece of equipment, however, was designed for very specific use on small "postage-stamp" lawns like the ones commonly found in Europe and America's big cities. Typically, these lawns can be cut in about a half hour or so before the battery charge runs out.

The point is, whether it's commercial-sized grounds-care equipment or home lawn and garden gear, in no way should one assume battery-powered equipment can provide the power and performance that consumers can expect from engine-powered equipment.

At the same time, we recognize the need to do our part in improving air quality. We have made significant strides in this area. Our goal is to design and manufacture engines that meet or exceed regulations without affecting the overall performance, reliability and durability of our products.

John Castagna, media relations representative, Edison Electric Institute

A few years ago, I became painfully aware of some of the problems that are created by traditional grounds-keeping equipment. The deafening drone and exhaust of commercial mowers, edgers and trimmers where I lived was a not-so-subtle signal to close the windows, turn up the TV or stereo and soothe our pets' frayed nerves. Then one day I noticed something worse: The minimum-wage people who ran the equipment did so without ear protection. I asked a red-eyed, carbon-monoxide-inhaling worker about it one day. His response was none at all: He couldn't hear me.

Since that time, I've become familiar with something better: battery-powered electric lawn equipment. This equipment represents a virtual technological revolution when compared to battery-powered equipment of just a few years ago. The ability of mowers, for example, to cut a large area before needing to recharge is phenomenal. It's why I mow my own back-and front-yard with an all-electric unit.

Reliable as this equipment is, other reasons to go electric are just as compelling. They are whisper quiet, and they help keep our air clean. Even with emissions from power plants counted, electric mowers are virtually zero-polluting. Gasoline-powered mowers, however, are a significant air-pollution problem and are the subject of intense EPA scrutiny. They are never cleaner than the first day you use them, and they become much dirtier over time-and noisier.

Your customers deserve the best you can give them-more than manicured grass. Electric technology delivers extra value that smart managers will parlay into profits. If you don't do it, your competitors surely will.

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