HAMILTON, Ohio — The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) of California delivered a dozen new, battery-electric commercial lawn mowers from Mean Green Mowers to agencies in San Bernardino County as part of a long-term demonstration program to promote 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.

The recipients, seven government and non-profit agencies, include: 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.

An additional five mowers will be delivered to the agencies next week for a total of 17 mowers provided by SCAQMD, representing the largest such demonstration in the nation.

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, which is based in Hamilton, Ohio, and include riding and walk-behind mowers. Depending on the model, each mower costs about $3,000 to $20,000, which is about 25% more than a comparable gas model. However, because of the cost savings in gas and maintenance, the electric mowers could pay back the cost differential in about 2 years.

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

Commercial lawn mowers are typically used multiple times per day, have a useful life of about 10 years and use thousands of gallons of gasoline per year. 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.

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