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Let’s Get Serious About Electric Lawnmowers

Mean Green Mower at Dartmouth College. Photo: Steve Wisbaum, Eco Equipment Supply

George Harvey

If you mow your lawn, or even if you hire someone, you probably don’t think of a gas-powered mower as your best friend. But let’s face it, it’s a task that most of us spend a lot of time and money on to keep our yards mown all spring and summer. But the noise, vibration, and fumes of a small internal combustion machine are not among the great attractions of yard work. With most gas-powered engines, exhaust emissions are much worse than those of a car. And then there is the time and cost for maintenance and trips to the gas station.

Fortunately, there is a better way. It eliminates a lot of noise and all the fumes of an internal combustion engine. It reduces maintenance and operating costs, and can reduce the operator’s carbon footprint by over 95%. For some people, it can turn mowing a lawn from a chore into something enjoyable. Neighbors appreciate the relative quiet. And in a best case, it turns maintaining a perfect lawn into something you don’t even have to think about. That better way is, of course, an electric lawn mower (e-mower).

As it turns out, more and more people and institutions are making the switch to e-mowers. In Charlotte, Vermont, The Ten Stones Village Association replaced a 21 hp diesel zero-turn mower to maintain its six acres with a Mean Green CRX-52, avoiding 125 hours of diesel racket each year. Zero-turn electric lawn mowers have also recently been purchased by the Burlington Electric and Parks and Rec Departments, the NW Region of the Vermont Department of Parks, and Dartmouth College.

Mean Green electric mower used by Green Bee Lawn & Garden. Courtesy photo

Lawn care customers usually prefer e-mowers when they are available, because of reduced noise and pollution. In response, some lawn care businesses are now offering electric mowing services. There are at least four e-mowing services in Vermont, and a few in New Hampshire and Maine. One example is Green Bee Lawn & Garden, in Chester, Vermont. Taking the transition away from oil and gas as part of its business plan, not only are the mowers electric but so is just about everything else. That includes the blowers, the chain saws, and even the truck will be in the near future. Even the electricity that powers all this is green, as it comes from the owner’s own 9.72kW solar array. Need we add that lawn products are organic? Green Bee Lawn & Garden can be contacted at 802-289-1968. Their Facebook page is http://bit.ly/Green-Bee-on-FB.

Chris Cook of Top Notch Property Maintenance uses Mean Green electric mowers. These mowers save him $3000 a year in fuel. Chris also commented on how electric mowers are a great timesaver, as they require less maintenance.

It happens that as the season for lawn care is just starting, there is some good news about electric lawn mowers for anyone who might want to buy one. First off, walk-behind electric mowers for homeowners are comparable in price to traditional models, and given reductions in operating costs, they can be less expensive over their lifetimes. And second, there are incentives and rebates available for those who want to switch to electric. A number of municipalities offer them. Also, a number of local electric utilities provide incentives for them. If you want to find the incentives for the area where you live, the best thing to do is to contact both your municipal government and your local utility to see what they offer.

Robowmow® robotic mower keeps 2 country acres pristinely mowed all by itself. Photo courtesy of Green-E-Mowers.

For example, in Vermont there are sixteen utilities that offer incentives for e-mowers:

Green Mountain Power offers $50 for residential mowers and $700 for commercial mowers. (Call 802-342-3808 or email Emily.eckert@greenmountainpower.com)

The Burlington Electric Department offers $100 for residential mowers and $3,500 for commercial mowers. (Contact Mike Kanarick at mkanarick@burlingtonelectric.com)

The Vermont Electric Co-op also has a $100 incentive for residential mowers and $1,000 for commercial mowers. (Contact Lisa Morris at 802-635-4222 or lmorris@vermontelectric.coop.)

The Washington Electric Co-op also has a residential incentive of $100 and $1,000 for commercial mowers.

The Vermont Public Power Supply Association offers $25 for residential e-mowers and more for commercial. (Contact Julia Leopold jleopold@vppsa.com)

All together, these Vermont utilities offer e-mower incentives to 95% of the state’s residents.

The news on e-mowers keeps getting better. Some time ago, Green Energy Times started looking into robotic mowers. These impressive little machines never have any desire to play hooky or go to the zoo, all they want to do is keep the grass down. And since they work every chance they get, they keep a lawn that is about as close to perfect as you can get. Our latest article on these machines was “Get a Robotic Mower and Take Back Your Time,” which appeared in May, 2019 (http://bit.ly/it-mows-you-dont).

Our publisher, N.R. Mallery, was so impressed by robotic mowers that she purchased two Robomow® brand mowers herself. She was so impressed by her Robomow® that she decided to sell them and make sure they were available locally. You can learn all about it by calling her at 802-439-6675.

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