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Electric Mowers Put to Long-term Test
Can They Hold Up to Commercial Expectations?

Government and non-profit agencies in Southern California are given battery-electric commercial lawn mowers to use in an assessment, put on by the local air quality agency, of the mowers' performance, endurance, cost effectiveness and pollution reduction capabilities.

California's South Coast Air Quality Management District delivered 17 new, battery-electric commercial lawn mowers to agencies in San Bernardino County as part of a long-term demonstration program to test the zero-emission equipment. SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Representing the largest such demonstration in the nation, the recipients included: Cal State San Bernardino, City of San Bernardino, County of San Bernardino, Inland Empire 66ers baseball team, San Bernardino International Airport, San Bernardino Police Department and Urban Conservation Corp/Southern California Mountains Foundation.

Each agency will use the mowers and provide fuel savings estimates, hours of usage and other information to SCAQMD to help in quantifying air quality benefits and monitoring equipment performance.

The mowers are manufactured in the U.S. by Mean Green Mowers based in Hamilton, Ohio, and include riding and walk-behind models that range in cost from about $3,000 to $20,000, which, the manufacturer reports, is about 25 percent more than comparable gas models but that cost differential can be made up in fuel savings in about two years.

According to the manufacturer, replacing one commercial gasoline-powered mower with a battery-electric model is expected to save 700 gallons of gasoline per year and reduce more than 600 pounds per year of smog-forming emissions and fine particulates.

The manufacturer also states the mowers are about 50 percent quieter than commercial gas mowers. Depending on model, they can operate up to 7 hours on a single charge.

Funding for the program comes from EPA's Targeted Air Shed Grant Program to implement incentive programs to reduce air pollution in the Southern California communities of San Bernardino and Boyle Heights.

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May 19, 2019, 8:23 am PDT

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