Review by Andrew Tulloch, Landscape Specialist
Mean Green’s Evo is a step up from the Rival reviewed earlier in the year and our test unit was loaded with options. This electric mower is a full commercial unit in every sense, with an 8-hour runtime, equating to 30 acres of cutting on a single charge.
Mean Green has been manufacturing commercial zero-turns in the USA since 2009 and is exclusively distributed in Australia by ECOTEQ, who have branches in every State, with spare parts backing and trained technicians ensuring purchasers quality backup.
It is evident straight away that the build quality of this Mean Green mower is exceptional. Deck and machine are constructed of aircraft-grade aluminium which is lightweight and extremely robust. The Evo tested was fitted with the optional larger 35kWh battery pack – a 22kWh battery is standard – which powers the 5 deck motors and 2 drive motors, producing a drive speed of 21kph and the long 8-hour runtime. The combination gives power comparable to a 37hp diesel machine without the noise and running costs, which is very impressive indeed. The machine is so quiet! It is great for noise-sensitive sites, the operator and bystanders.
Although the initial purchase cost is quite a bit more than equivalent conventional mowers, recent excessive fuel prices, and maintenance items such as air filters, fuel filters, oil filters, spark plugs and so forth, are not an issue with the Mean Green Evo, so there’s a huge cost saving on consumables, labour and fuel. That equates to enormous running-cost savings over the life of the machine.
Charge time is 12 hours for a fully depleted battery, so it’s an easy overnight recharge after a full day’s use. It is worth noting the batteries have no memory, so can be charged at any point ,whether fully or partially depleted.
Another optional extra fitted to the test machine was a lightweight canopy for the operator’s protection that doubles as a battery charger with solar panels on the top. This can add another 30-40 minutes to the runtime when operating on a sunny day.
Also fitted to the Evo I tested was the fanciest conditional rego kit I have seen. It has its own control panel on the dash for easy operation and includes not only a tiny but effective flashing beacon, but also LED lights, blinkers and a horn.
The rear-discharge deck is a massive 74 inches wide and has 5 blades, and there’s a mulching kit available. Two of the blades spin in opposite directions to the other three, ensuring optimum grass cut and grass deflection/mulching whether rear-discharging or mulching. Rear-discharge decks are the only option for this model. Each blade is operated by its own 3kW electric motor, with the blade attached directly to the motor driveshaft rather than the conventional spindle setup. This eliminates massive amounts of maintenance and consumables; there are no pulleys, no belts, no grease points and therefore no maintenance at all on the top of the deck. The only maintenance/consumable within the entire cutting system is the blades. ‘Tweels’ were fitted to both the front and rear of the Evo I tested, eliminating downtime from flat tyres. They are also a bit more forgiving on uneven terrain.
Mean Green’s Impulse Drive System gives instant power.
It does take a bit to get used to as the controls are so extremely light and responsive, although after about 15 minutes of operation I was confident and it was a pleasure to operate. It felt like I was just lightly guiding the control levers rather than pushing and pulling them like a conventional zero-turn, and therefore there’s much less effort required from the operator, and that reduces fatigue.
There are two blade speeds that can be changed effortlessly to suit the grass and conditions with the touch on the control-panel screen. The drive speed of the Evo also has two speeds that can be changed in the same way, with a touch on the control screen. Changing between the two speeds can conserve battery life by operating in the slower speeds if grass conditions allow. Cutting heights can be changed in ¼-inch increments at a touch, and the deck can be lifted and lowered via an electric ram. Foot controls allow the operator to raise or lower the deck with a tap on either side of a foot-operated rocker pedal, or hold the pedal in place to raise fully or lower to a pre-set height.
At the front of the foot well are three operational indicator lights easily viewed by the operator. Three greens indicate cutting height and speed are correct for the conditions, yellow lights indicate cutting height is good but ground speed is too fast, while red lights indicate the operator is pushing the machine too hard and should re-assess speed and cutting heights.
Overall, I would have to admit my passion for internal combustion engines – which I previously thought could never be replaced by batteries and electric motors – is now being questioned. I could not fault the Mean Green Evo in either performance or build quality. It is a pleasure to operate and performs as well as its conventional petrol and diesel rivals while being quieter, more environmentally friendly, easier on the operator and much cheaper to maintain and run.
Drive motors 2 x 5kW
Deck motors 5 x 3kW
Cutting width 74 inches (188cm)
Run time 8 hours
Charge time 12 hours
Slope rating 20 degreesRequest Brochure
As seen in Landscape Contractor Magazine, published with permission.