Battery-powered equipment Email
Written by Katherine DeGaine   
Monday, May 20, 2024 12:00 AM

Colorado Green NowBattery-powered equipment: what you need to know

After Colorado’s Regional Air Quality Control voted to approve a ban on some gas-powered mowers and handheld landscaping tools on public and government property starting next summer, many landscaping companies are considering investing in a transition to electric equipment. Battery power is also key to the recent wave of automated mowing equipment.

Green industry manufacturers have stepped up their research and development efforts, turning out innovative battery driven tech to meet the market’s anticipated demand, but adoption has been slow among landscape pros.

In addition to lower operating costs, battery-powered equipment produces zero emissions, which benefits the environment and the health of landscape workers and is significantly quieter (on average, 75 dB compared to 90 dB), which allows contractors to work earlier or later hours in residential areas.

Barriers to battery power

One of the biggest obstacles for landscapers who want to convert to battery power is cost. Battery-powered equipment can cost as much as three times more than gas-powered equipment. In addition, contractors must factor in the costs of batteries necessary to operate. Professional-grade lithium-ion batteries can run between $200 and $4,600 apiece.

To help offset these costs, the Inflation Reduction Act instituted an electric vehicle tax credit that covers 30 percent of the cost, or up to $7,500, for new commercial lawn mowers. Last year, Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law, which took effect Jan 1, creating a 30 percent discount on electric lawn mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers and snow blowers. The Regional Air Quality Control Council offers grant programs for landscaping companies and government entities, and several Colorado counties offer grants and rebates.

Contractors also will need to maintain an inventory of expensive batteries to keep a battery powered fleet running. To avoid carting around one or two dozen batteries from site to site, some landscape professionals have started equipping their trucks and trailers with onboard charging stations that allow them to replenish power on the go and carry fewer replacement battery packs. Most manufacturers offer tips to help make batteries last as long as possible.

One of the most significant challenges contractors report when converting to battery-powered equipment is employee pushback and the cultural shift required to adopt this new technology. Often, crews believe the tool’s reduction in power and the need to adopt new maintenance approaches and practices will hamstring performance and efficiency.


Read more in this issue of Colorado Green Now:

Colorado Water Conservation Board

Recommendation Tree List Released

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