The ReVolt Electric Mower
By David Lubach07 December 2017
BY DAVE LUBACH
Mean Green Mowers, a manufacturer of residential and commercial electric mowers, recently launched a new model — the ReVolt walk-behind commercial unit.
The ReVolt is a dual-drive, wide-cutting area machine that fills Mean Green’s void between the WBX-33HD single drive 33-in. walk-behind and the 48-in. Stalker stand-on mower. The mower includes deck size options of 48 and 52 in. and comes with the option of carrying one or two Green Monster LEM41840 lithium battery packs that Mean Green said can get commercial lawn care contractors through one day of mowing on one charge depending on terrain, operator performance and grass conditions.
The machine contains power up to 48 V and can achieve up to 24 hp maintaining sound levels of 76 dB(a) for the 48-in. model and 78 dB(a) for the 52-in. model. The recharge time for the battery is 4-10 hours and the machines can reach a speed of up to 7 mph. The estimated battery life is 6000-9000 mowing hours, the company said.
“The most obvious feature of the ReVolt is the low, futuristic wedge-type look of the chassis,” said Joe Conrad, president, who founded the company in 2008. “Since we have no internal combustion engine or hydraulics to worry about, we were able to house all of our components in a smaller package. We are able to keep our battery weight extremely low in the chassis between the drives, which results in the lowest center of gravity possible.”
Conrad said ReVolt’s design characteristics help the machine perform well on steep hills and slopes. “It is excellent on hills and slopes with the added advantage of no oil starvation problems that are common on internal combustion engine walk-behinds,” Conrad said. “With our electronic steering, we are able to have a fingertip operator controlled steering trim system that allows the operator to adjust the steering for hands-free operation even on sides of hills.”
Conrad said ReVolt should provide good value for small crews with limited trailer space and budgets. Since starting the company in Hamilton, Ohio, where it employs 18 people and manufactures the mowers in a 24,000 sq.ft. facility, Conrad has seen a shift in the electric mower market.
“Most early sales were to first-adopters that wanted something different,” he said. “Now, we find that many schools and cities want electric to fulfill their ‘green’ status and reduce noise emissions, but many contractors are adding on ‘green teams’ to satisfy their many clients that specifically ask for zero emissions and quieter operations. Many contractors are finding that our electric mowers give them a substantial competitive advantage since they can now offer a quiet service that others cannot.”
Conrad said the design philosophy of his company’s mowers comes from his background in the aviation industry, where he worked with aircraft structural repair, operations and ground maintenance. The idea to start Mean Green Mowers was hatched from a time when Conrad was converting a car to electric power and his zero-turn (ZTR) mower broke down. The need for a new mower led him to instead convert his mower to electric. As electrification continues to impact so many more markets, Conrad thinks the technology is gaining momentum in the mowing industry.
“Over the next five years, we will see electric mowers become much more prevalent due to the reduction of battery cost and new electronic technologies,” he said. “Since the cost of gas mowers will continue to rise significantly due to the new emissions restrictions, the purchase price of electric versus gas mowers will begin to converge and the benefits of electric mowers will be difficult to ignore. It already makes good economic sense to go electric due to the ultra-low operating cost of electric mowers. In the near future, there will be no justification for most of the gas mowers we see today.”