Electric mowers proved able to replace many diesels

A professional parks and facilities maintenance company trialled two fully electric ride-on lawnmowers to demonstrate that this lower-emissions option can replace diesel mowers in many commercial applications. The project received co-funding from EECA's Technology Demonstration fund.

Recreational Services trialled two Mean Green Machine CXR-60 fully electric commercial ride-on lawnmowers. The mowers run for 7 hours on one charge, and recharge in 9-12 hours. An optional solar canopy provides sun protection and 30 minutes extra operation.

They have a top speed of 16km/h. Operational noise level is 82 decibels – much quieter than an equivalent diesel mower.

The project aimed to demonstrate that electric mowers can replace diesel mowers in many commercial applications, saving fossil fuel and reducing carbon emissions.

Recreational Services was the first New Zealand company to import Mean Green Machine CXR-60 electric mowers. They put the mowers to work in Auckland and Whangarei, operating five days a week for up to seven hours a day.

Recreational services(external link)

The technology and benefits

Recreational Services added extra weight to the front as staff found the mowers very light. Extra training was provided to staff as the controls were found to be very sensitive compared to the diesel mowers.

Mean Green’s manufacturers expect the batteries, or Lithium Energy Modules (LEM), to achieve around 8,000 hours of peak performance and then gradually decrease in capacity. Users have the option of one battery (2.25 hours of operating time), two batteries (4.5 hours) or three batteries (7 hours).

Key benefits proven over the two-year trial period:

  • Savings: over $9,000 a year in diesel fuel costs.
  • Savings of over 21 tonnes of carbon emissions a year compared to a diesel mower.
  • Noise level at about 25% of diesel equivalents.
  • Repairs and maintenance costs are much lower because there is less vibration and fewer moving parts.
  • Health and safety benefits, as reduced noise and vibrations mean staff feel less fatigued.
  • Recreational Services decided to import a third mower to work on council facilities in Queenstown.

The technology is suited to commercial mowing operators working on facilities such as parks, gardens, golf courses, school and university grounds, recreation grounds and cemeteries. 

Technology Demonstration funding de-risks investment

The project was supported by the Technology Demonstration fund run by EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority). It was eligible because it demonstrated an under-used lower-emissions technology in a commercial setting, and would inform other businesses interested in following suit.

The co-funding helps to de-risk investment in under-utilised technology and helps businesses with the transition to a low-carbon future.

Technology demonstration fund