The demand for electric landscaping equipment is continuing to grow. Several factors are driving growth in the market, according to Mark Linkletter, manager of business development, commercial products at AriensCo, the parent company of Gravely, an electric equipment manufacturer.
Working from Home
Since the pandemic, noise ordinances have increased in residential areas, corporate campuses and municipalities. With more people in the remote workforce, electric mowers offer lower decibel levels to keep residents happier with virtually no noise. Companies also can benefit with longer mowing hours, because electric mowers fall under decibel restrictions for many neighborhood noise ordinances.
Corporations with green initiatives who contract landscape crews want to work with companies that provide eco-friendly lawn care, which includes using electric equipment. Many municipalities are seeking a green footprint around schools and parks that includes quieter equipment and environmentally friendly landscaping maintenance.
Recent legislation passing tax incentives for purchasing electric equipment has also increased interest. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 includes a tax credit of 30 percent or up to $7,500 for commercial electric lawnmowers. The incentive is a push for landscapers to begin incorporating electric equipment in their fleets. The credit is available on purchases from January 2023 through 2032 and can go a long way toward transitioning a traditional fleet to electric.
Mark has heard positive input from operators who have used Gravely’s electric, zero-turn mowers. Operators say they do not feel as worn out and do not have ringing in their ears after a day’s work. Labor is an ongoing issue for landscape maintenance, so companies with electric equipment can highlight the benefits to potential hires.
What’s the Cost Difference?
The cost of maintaining an electric mower is less compared to gas-powered equipment. There are no costs for gas, oil changes, filters, belts and pulleys. Electric equipment has fewer moving parts that break and need repair. The batteries in an electric mower can even outlast the equipment itself, depending on its usage. With that in mind, the batteries in some commercial mowers can be removed and placed in new equipment.
The price for electric equipment that is as powerful as gas is higher than gas powered equipment, but the long-term savings are there. Mark explains that a company will pay for everything up-front rather than over time with fuel and maintenance. Factoring in the cost of gas with fluctuations can be a headache for a business owner. The price to power an electric mower is more stable.
Plus, a feature on some electric equipment is the ability to change a battery if the power runs low during a job—without the hassle of gas tanks and the potential of fuel spillage.
Unraveling the Myth
There is an unfortunate myth that electric equipment does not perform like gas powered mowers, but this isn’t true. Today’s electric mowers are designed with quality and performance in mind. They are built to work like gas-powered equipment but with different benefits.