Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hybrid lawnmowers?

When I first read the headline, I was incredulous that such a device was necessary. After all, if there is grass to be mowed, why not use a reel style push mower and bypass the engine thing anyways? What? You have an acre of grass to mow. Umm, Why? What is it that drives us to create vast expanses of a plant that requires constant maintenance for it to look "attractive". But then I remembered that there are places where all that nicely mown grass serves a purpose. Golf courses. And who wouldn't want this example of leisure activity and sport to use just a little less energy or pollute a little less. Then I read the article.

I'm still not convinced there's a market, except for those who want to greenwash their lawn care practices. Given that most lawn mowers sit and do nothing for the bulk of their life(residential ones at least), they're perfectly suited for a plug-in recharge cycle for pure electric operation. I have no idea if the batteries could be large enough to let the thing operate for say an hour to an hour and half (thinking of the riding mower I use in the country every now and then). Wow, and the only noise would be the blade turning? That would be a really welcome change.

Someone in the comments pointed out the GE Elek-trak. Of course, they didn't mention that the devices aren't made anymore and are used by a set of dedicated enthusiast's. Too bad, based on the comments and the info I've seen on them it was a good system. And that they are still in operation over 20 (30?) years later is a testament. The device sports a full range of plug in accessories for lawn care, recharges on a 110 outlet and has enough juice to mow about 2 acres. Sounds perfect to me. More info at or do a google search for elec trak.

Pictures and commentary can be found at AutoBlogGreen