The shift towards electric vehicles and outdoor landscaping and maintenance equipment is becoming the new normal, with many new options entering the Australian market within just the last 12 months. Buyers have had the opportunity to see that electric equipment doesn’t mean they must compromise on performance. The electric revolution has proven that electric models are not only brilliant for the environment with zero emissions, they are also efficient performers.
Until recently, with limited availability of commercial-grade outdoor cleansing and landscaping equipment like ride-on mowers or street sweepers, buyers have had to compare electric to their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts, which is a lot like comparing apples to oranges. As the electric market continues to expand and there are now more options, people can compare apples to apples. That is, electric to electric.
If we’re to examine that apple analogy carefully, though, it’s more like comparing Granny Smith apples to Red Delicious. Same-same but different. Many of the new electric options are light commercial or domestic models, unlike tried-tested-and-proven heavy commercial machines such as those in the EcoTeq range.
To compare different makes and models of electric equipment or machinery, buyers need to explore performance, battery life, charging times, task efficiency, maintenance requirements and more to best understand the value of each.
True commercial electric equipment is built electric from the ground up using lighter, stronger materials. They are not simply converted from ICE to electric. This leads to greater efficiency, power and battery longevity.
Using EcoTeq electric ride-on mowers as an example, they are constructed with aircraft alloy, a material renowned for its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio. By using aircraft alloy in the manufacturing process, the weight of the machine is significantly reduced without compromising on durability or structural integrity. This lightweight advantage not only enhances manoeuvrability and ease of use for operators but also means it requires less energy to operate, contributing to a longer battery life.
Energy efficiency need not come at the expense of power. However, buyers need to compare the performance of commercial-grade electric equipment.
Commercial-grade electric mowers provide a better cut compared to traditional ICE ride-on mowers because their blades spin at a consistent speed. Traditional mowers rely on the engine’s RPM, which can fluctuate, leading to uneven cutting performance. Electric mowers are driven by a steady electric motor, ensuring a consistent and constant blade speed throughout the mowing process. This results in a more uniform and precise cut, reducing the chances of leaving uncut patches or damaging the grass. The steady blade speed helps maintain the mower’s efficiency even in thicker or taller grass.
Similarly, commercial-grade electric street sweepers have a strong suction vacuum and dust filtration system to cope with the demands of large rubbish and debris, and even wet leaves. For less powerful machines, these can present challenges, especially maintenance hassles.
So, when comparing electric equipment, explore the machine’s output.
When comparing electric equipment, look at how long the company has been supplying commercial-grade electric machines. Then research the history of the manufacturer, checking how long they have been in the business of manufacturing electric equipment from the ground up. There are many big-name brands in the market now providing electric equipment, but they are new starters in the electric game, capitalising on the strength of their brand name. However, they don’t have the depth of experience and expertise of companies that have been solely electric focused for a decade or more.
For example, EcoTeq solely supplies commercial-grade electric cleansing and landscaping equipment in Australia, building a local reputation on quality and performance. EcoTeq mowers are manufactured in the US under the Mean Green brand, a company that has been building electric mowers for more than 10 years. EcoTeq’s electric sweepers have been available in Australia for more than 8 years. Like Mean Green, these sweepers have been through the R&D process for more than 10 years. They are used extensively throughout Europe, like by the City of Westminster in London.
When looking at commercial-grade electric brands, check the length of time a manufacturer has been making electric equipment because a manufacturer with 10 or more years’ experience will have overcome many of the challenges a new manufacturer is only just starting to face today.
For example, Mean Green explored replaceable batteries many years ago. But what they discovered was that customers only want a single battery that lasts a whole day. It took several years to develop the technology that would allow a full day of mowing on a single change, but they eliminated the need for battery changing, which reduces manual handling and possible work health and safety (WHS) issues. Many other manufacturers are still supplying equipment that requires a battery change.
It’s also worth checking whether the brand sells directly to the market or through dealerships. When the company you’re considering buying the electric machine from has direct contact with both the manufacturer and the customer, the supplier can deliver customer feedback and suggestions to improve the machines directly to the manufacturer. For example, Tweels (airless radial tyres) were only available on EcoTeq’s Evo mower model. Based on suggestions for improvement, Mean Green added Tweels to the popular Rival model, which better suit Australian conditions.
A key factor in decision-making might be whether the Australian seller has a team of factory-trained experts who understand the technology. Having this kind of deep technical immersion may mean they can provide a superior technical service. By knowing so much about the machines, they can help buyers ensure they choose the right machine for their situation.
At EcoTeq, we work directly with the manufacturers of our machines. Their representatives have visited Australia and EcoTeq staff have visited factories in the US and Europe. Factory-trained EcoTeq technicians are sent onsite for maintenance and repair work, which means less downtime and inconvenience for buyers.
It’s no surprise that with these benefits, electric cleansing and landscaping equipment has a higher initial purchase point than non-electric machines. But the total cost of ownership must be considered too. This is where value will also stand out among competitors—electric and ICE alike.
The technology used in electric cleansing and landscaping equipment will continue to evolve. Because electric machines are programmable, everything is controllable. It won’t be long before machines can be connected to smart phones and cloud-based software and buyers can experience the many benefits this will bring. Buyers should consider what a supplier’s future road map is and how software and other upgrades fit into their future plans.
There’s no comparison between seeing the equipment perform live and in person, vs reading about it in a brochure. By seeing the machines in action and having a test drive, you are undoubtedly in the best position to compare electric with electric.
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