“I looked out the window and my neighbor walked by, and I was surprised to see he was mowing his lawn with almost no noise,” said Amner Deleon. “My neighbor was using an Ego battery powered mower. Coincidentally, a friend of mine approached me not long after that and asked if I would invest in a start-up lawn care business. I told him if we went 100-percent battery power I was in, and the brand we chose to use was Ego.”
Amner Deleon of Blue Sky/Green Earth landscaping in New Jersey has made the move to battery power. He is now helping other towns on the East coast like Princeton and Montclair, N.J. understand how battery powered OPE is a viable alternative to gas.
Deleon has found that battery power offers not only less noise, vibration and fumes but his crews with Blue Sky/Green Earth actually get their work done faster.
“Until you try it, it may seem counterintuitive but we have paid a lot of attention to this and we’re getting through our jobs about 10 percent faster than when we used gas,” Deleon said. “The time spent fueling up, and getting the gear running does add up where with battery you pull the trigger and you’re working.”
Currently dozens of cities across the U.S. (some estimates say it’s up to 200 cities) have either regulated the days and hours of operation or have outright banned the use of gas blowers. Meanwhile California in 2024 will ban the sale of new power equipment using small gas-powered engines. As more state or local governments restrict or ban gas-powered OPE a time will come when crews have to take a hard look at how to convert to battery-powered tools.
On the issue of teaching crews how to use battery vs. gas equipment, Deleon uses the Ego 800 CFM blower as an example. “For the majority of the work that they do, my employees don’t use full power; they’re maybe 50 percent throttle,” he said. If they need to move some wet leaves, they can goose the throttle but then they go back to using only the power they need. A small screen above the trigger provides good feedback about how much power you’re using. We find that we have plenty of power to get through our days with just a few sets of batteries.”
And how many batteries you’ll need to get through the day is top of mind when you ask crews their thoughts on making the conversion to battery power. Ego Commercial has an app for that.
“Ego Commercial’s Power Manager is an easy-to-use digital solution for business that are considering transitioning to battery powered OPE to understand the investment required,” said Scott Hurley, head of IoT product management. “Accessed via the web or through your mobile device, you can use the Power Manager to answer a few questions about your company including size, the type of work you do and how much of your company you want to move into battery power.”
Based on this input, the Power Manager – available in 2024 – will return recommendations for amount of equipment, batteries and charging solutions you’ll need to invest in. “We recommend users review these results,” says Hurley,” with an Ego Commercial dealer who can then provide a competitive quote.”
And Ego even has solved the problem of remotely charging batteries in the field with the Ego Power Bank. Nick shares the details.
On the subject of charging batteries, whether at the shop or in the field, Ego Commercial gives users options, according toNick Feld, senior product manager at Chervon, Ego’s parent company.
“The Ego PGX system is designed to be simple, said Feld. “The system is powered by a single charger, the PGX Hub. It only requires a single standard 15A circuit, so you don’t need to worry about tripping breakers from having multiple chargers plugged in, and you don’t need to pay for a costly electrical upgrade. From there, simply connect the PGX 3-port dock which will charge 3 batteries simultaneously The PGX system is scalable. Simply connect as many 3-port docks together and each bank of three will charge at a time. The PGX system is versatile and can be installed easily indoors or inside a vehicle or trailer. Because we haven’t burdened the 3-port docks with the complex electronics and components you’d find in other standard chargers, we can keep the cost much lower so you can scale your system much more economically.”
“The Power Bank connects to the PGX system, it is enabled by a new Ego High Capacity 2.2kWh (40Ah) battery. Once fully charged, you can take the Power Bank on the go and it can be used to turn around and charge more than 30Ah of additional Ego batteries, with no cables or connection to power. Having the ability to charge batteries using a battery means very little efficiency loss compared to powering a battery charger off a gas generator. And the charge time is pretty fast also, as an example you can charge the Ego 5.0Ah battery in just 30 minutes.”
As always, change does come at a cost. A growing number of subsidies are becoming available to help commercial crews defray the cost of transitioning to battery power Your dealer should be able to tell you if subsidies are available where you live.
Change is one of the few constants in life. And while change isn’t always easy, the journey to converting to battery powered OPE doesn’t have to be painful. The best way to gauge your possibilities and chart a path that’s doable for you is to get in touch with your local dealer and see what will work best for you.