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  • Camren Cooley

Should You Consider Electrifying Your Landscaping Tools?

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

For Commercial landscaping businesses, there's more to consider than just electrifying your landscaping trucks. There are many benefits and an ROI for converting to electric-powered tools.


Commercial landscaping requires the use of reliable, efficient, and environmentally friendly tools. In recent years, electric landscaping tools have become increasingly popular due to their numerous benefits over gasoline-powered tools.


One of the most significant (and obvious) benefits of using electric landscaping tools is that they are environmentally friendly. They emit fewer toxic fumes, reduce your carbon footprint, promote an image of sustainability for your business, and are much quieter than gasoline-powered tools. This makes them suitable for use in areas where noise and air pollution are concerns. Something ALL of us will thank you for when it comes to the incessant gas-powered blower noise. Urrgh!!


Another advantage of electric landscaping tools is that they are cheaper and more cost-effective in the long run compared to gasoline-powered tools. Although electric tools often have a higher initial cost, they require much less maintenance, no fuel costs, and tend to have a longer lifespan. By reducing maintenance costs and fuel expenses, you can save money and allocate those resources toward other aspects of your business.





Is Gas Really Better?


So now let's talk about the major objection and concern most owners have about electric tools for commercial operations. The batteries don't have long enough run times, and it's faster to just refuel with gas to get back on the job ASAP.


Let's break those two concerns down:


1. "Battery life and usable duration can't match gas power" - part of this misperception is that most people don't understand electric power measurement and its associated "usability". But they do know what a gallon of gas is and generally how much use they can get out of it. So step one is understanding battery types for electric tools so you can match the correct power source for the job type. It's critical to match the capabilities of the battery to the tool's required amps for operation and the amount of time it's used each day. (Just like we do when designing the plan for your EV fleet.)


The electrical storage capacity of a battery is rated in amp-hours. An amp-hour rating gives you an idea of how long a battery can continuously output a set number of amps. A 2.5-amp-hour battery, for example, will discharge 2.5 amps continuously for one hour. If you run the tool at a higher speed or higher load that draws more than 2.5 amps, the battery will discharge faster. But a battery’s amp-hour rating alone doesn’t give you an indication of how much total power the tool can deliver. If the manufacturer has listed the "watt-hour rating" (volts x amp-hours), and you know the amps required to operate the tool, then you can quickly determine how long the battery can operate that tool.


But what if the manufacturer doesn't list the "watt-hour rating"? Then we need to do some simple math to find the watt-hours for that battery so we can determine how long they can be used before requiring a recharge.


For example, let's compare a 40-volt 2.5 amp-hour battery, and an 18-volt 2.0 amp-hour battery. Even though the batteries have similar amp-hour ratings (2.0 and 2.5), their watt-hours will be very different. So what does that mean in terms of how long they will last?


So lets assume the tool in question requires 9 watts to operate. The formula to find total hours of operation is Total Hours = (battery watt-hours) / (device watts).


The first battery has a 40-volt 2.5 amp-hour battery. So the first thing we need to do is convert amp hours to watt-hours using the formula: Amp Hours x Volts = Watt-Hours. So 2.5 amp hours x 40 volts = 100 watt-hours. So 100 battery watt-hours / 9 watts = 11 hours.


The second battery has a 18-volt 2.0 amp-hour battery. So Amp Hours x Volts = Watt-Hours. Thus 2 amp hours x 18 volts = 36-watt-hours. So 36 battery watt-hours / 9 watts = 4 hours.


As you can see if you’re comparing batteries, it's crucial to know the watts required to run the tool and then compare batteries based on watt-hours. Hopefully the manufacturer will provide a "watt-hour rating" that will make the math much easier and faster.


And of course, there are other variables that need to be considered to map out projected battery life and usability, such as materials the battery is made from, and how the battery is re-charged such as speed of re-charge and state of charge (% battery left) at time of recharging.


2. "Gasoline is faster to refuel and get back on the job" - I guarantee I can swap a battery pack faster than you can refuel a small fiddly gas tank on a landscaping tool! Also, gas is a more expensive fuel source than electricity, it's toxic to the very thing you're trying to grow, it's bad for the environment, it's louder and more irritating to those in its proximity, harder on your employees in terms of work environment decibels and air quality, and it requires more annual maintenance and servicing than electric tools.


And if you're really worried about having your landscape team run out of power on the job there are several mobile recharging companies out there that didn't exist just a few years ago. These mobile power packs can recharge drained batteries on the truck in the field without having to return to the fleet depot. And they can also be used for recharging tools in the field that are more heavy-duty than a trimmer or blower like a small backhoe or loader.


In terms of convenience, electric landscaping tools are much more practical for commercial landscapers than gasoline-powered tools. Because they do not use gasoline, there is no need to store, transport, or handle dangerous fuel containers. Also, most electric landscaping tools are cordless, which makes them much more mobile and easier to use in tight spaces where maneuverability is important.



Conclusion


Electric landscaping tools are a practical, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly solution for commercial landscaping. They offer numerous benefits such as cost savings, convenience, and reduced environmental impact. With the continuous advancement in technology, electric landscaping tools are becoming more and more innovative, which means that the gap in performance between gas-powered and electric tools will continue to narrow. Commercial landscapers should consider investing in these tools as they become increasingly accessible and reliable.


This is also why it's crucial to have a Master EV Plan that lays out the correct strategy for purchasing and operating not just your EV trucks, but also for the landscaping tools that are so critical to your business!

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