Pictured Above: Greenworks ride-on zero-turn mower features an 82-volt battery system with a 13.8 kw lithium-ion battery; a 60-inch steel deck; and offers up to 4.5 hours of working time per charge.
Greenworks’ introduction of its 40-volt Elite “pro-sumer" line of battery-powered outdoor power equipment last October boosted the company’s product offerings, which already included an 82-volt commercial lineup. This complete lineup seems to have solidified the company’s reputation for partnership opportunities as five distributor announcements have been made since January 2018. The company now has six distributors for a nationwide presence.
“Our 82-volt commercial line is truly a replacement for gas engine models. We feel the dealer has been underserved in the rechargeable platforms and these products began to change the dealer opportunity for the entire industry. We were also able to launch our 40-volt Elite line. This is a prosumer product which hasn’t been available in the market before at this price point,” says Tony Marchese, who is the director of independent retail for Greenworks North America. Marchese had worked for many years at Husqvarna and most recently at Bush Hog.
Greenworks sells its Commercial and Elite Line of equipment exclusively through its dealer network.
Tony Marchese is the director of independent retail for Greenworks North America.
The 82-volt commercial lineup includes 20 tools and the 40-volt Elite lineup includes 18 tools. For each line, the battery is interchangeable for all of the tools, from a string trimmer to a snow blower.
The next, and necessary, development in Greenworks commercial line is zero-turn functionality and Marchese says ride-on and stand-on units are available now. Both units feature an 82-volt battery system with a 13.8 kw lithium-ion battery. The stand-on unit has a 48-inch steel deck, coil suspension platform and offers up to 6 hours of working time per charge. The ride-on zero turn has a 60-inch steel deck and offers up to 4.5 hours of working time per charge.
The prototype models were introduced at the 2016 GIE+Expo. “We’ve taken the time since then to fully develop the units. Our units are unique and we are the only commercial zero-turn that is UL rated, which means we have a safe platform for the end user. They have been designed very similarly to automobiles. A CAN bus system monitors all the functions,” says Marchese. He says Greenworks developed its proprietary technology with the help of an engineer from the auto industry.
Greenworks the 40-volt Elite “pro-sumer” lineup includes 18 tools, including a chainsaw.
Greenworks’ lineup is more expensive at the outset than similar gasoline engine models — about $9,000-$10,000 higher for ride-on mowers and 1.5 times higher for hand- held equipment. However, Marchese says that dealers need to convince customers to think long term. For instance, after 3 years, the mower investment is equal to the gas engine model because of the fuel expense. After 5 years’ of charges, the lithium-ion battery can retain about 80% of its power.
For daily use, depending on the cutting conditions, Marchese says its battery- powered ride-on and stand-on zero-turns have a continuous cut time of about 3.5-4.5 hours on a single charge depending on grass conditions, compared with about 6 gallons of fuel used by gas engine-powered mowers. He says power is comparable between the Greenworks zero-turn and gasoline-engine models.
The 40-volt Elite Line of handheld equipment has “smart battery” capabilities, which allow an owner to turn off the battery remotely (for safety reasons) along with diagnostics.
The company is also developing an end user smartphone app. Landscapers will be able to use the app to monitor productivity of crews and interact with homeowners. For instance, a homeowner can track when their property was mowed and even pay the landscaper through the interface.
Adding Service Revenue
Marchese says battery-powered equipment provides different service revenues for dealers. There isn’t the traditional maintenance like replacing belts or air filters, but there are wear parts, like blades, as well as mower adjustments. Diagnosis can be done with a laptop and the initial set-up is much quicker.
Greenworks is supporting the dealer through demo programs and in-store displays. “Because this is a new product, we’re offering a ‘try before you buy’ program and giving dealers the tools they need to let the customer use a machine on a job or to take it home for the weekend. This is helping supercharge distributors to sell, too,” Marchese says.
Demand for Environmentally-Friendly Products
Marchese says the timing is right for battery-powered products. Electric cars have raised awareness among consumers and community restrictions on equipment noise are increasing demand for battery-powered products. Lithium-ion technology provides commercial capabilities. In addition, issues related to ethanol and engine damage are non- existent for battery-powered equipment.
Marchese says there are several “hot bed” areas in the country based on restrictions and consumer demand, including California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York and Texas. “Over 500 communities now have some kind of ban or noise regulations related to blowers,” he says.
Greenworks’ parent company, Globe Tools Group, is based in China and the company opened its North American headquarters in Mooresville, N.C. in 2010. In 2016, the STIHL Group acquired a minority share of Globe Tools.
As part of the announcement, STIHL executive board chair Dr. Bertram Kandziora said, “Our stake in Globe Tools means we are systematically consolidating our strategy in the growing market for cordless power tools. We will utilize synergy effects in the development and production of cordless products."
Marchese says the product lines for both companies will remain separate, even though some technology and manufacturing processes will be shared.
He says Greenworks has an advantage in product development in that it is focused solely on battery-powered products. “We have a very aggressive new product plan. We are looking at robotic mowers and even things like trolling motors for kayaks and small boats — any area where there are now gasoline engine products,” Marchese says.