Yin Chen is the founder and CEO of Greenworks Tools. He was named the Ernst & Young 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year in China in the industrial products category.
Greenworks Commercial has been on a steady pace of product introductions within the last year and a residential zero-turn mower (48-inch) deck and a commercial grade UTV are set to be introduced this fall. Learn what’s behind the expansion and what it means for dealers.
Greenworks founder and CEO Yin Chen’s focus on battery technology, a 24-hour R&D cycle and supporting market factors, such as the growing demand for “green” products, has meant exponential growth for the company.
Greenworks was founded in 2002 and a team of 100 has now grown to 45,000 employees. The company’s facilities have expanded beyond China to the U.S., Germany, Korea, France, Russia and now Vietnam (a move precipitated by the Trump Administration’s tariffs on goods from China.).
The company’s lineup started with the introduction of the first lithium ion powered string trimmer in 2007 in mass channels. The Commercial division, which launched in 2016, now includes more than 55 products, including its commercial zero-turn mowers, utility vehicles and even work lights and trolling motors. A 48/24V system of tools and a mini cultivator were recently introduced and a residential zero-turn mower (48-inch) deck and a two commercial grade UTVs are set to be introduced this fall.
“We are very fortunate that we started this trend in the industry and are now leading this trend. We are trying to be in more countries in the coming years and our only objective is to be a leader in battery-powered outdoor power equipment,” says founder and CEO Yin Chen. Rural Lifestyle Dealer spoke with Chen at a recent Greenworks event.
The company produces 80% of its components in-house, achieving an economy of scale, says Chen. They have more than 3,000 patents and 500 engineers, which hand off development as engineers in each time zone end and start their work days.
“It’s now coming to the point that we are able to replace gas. Battery power is able to cover all applications and that is what is really exciting. We are saving the environment, saving hassle for the end user and saving money for the business operator. That’s so important because for every $100 you spend on fuel, you only need to spend $4 on electric power,” says Chen.
Although Chen wants to lead the industry, he welcomes competitors. “We need more companies coming into this field to help the industry move away from gas to battery. We welcome all to join this field and together we can make this world better,” says Chen.
Committed to Dealers
Chen says the company is “very serious” about the independent dealer channel. “We feel the dealer channel is underserved regarding battery products. The mass retailers have many battery offerings, but the market share of battery products in the dealer channel is not proportional compared with gas.
“We are providing a full solution and exclusive program to the dealer channel, which means this program (all 82V and 48/24V products) will not show up in mass retail. That’s our commitment to our partnerships with dealers around the country — to help them embrace this new technology in the coming years. Our leadership, innovation and also our manufacturing capabilities are able to provide a long-term solution and powerful tools to help our dealer partners win in their market,” Chen says.
Greenworks Commercial recently introduced its first-ever 48/24V system of tools, exclusively for homeowners who shop in the independent lawn and landscape dealer channel. The new system operates on a proprietary lithium-ion 48/24V dual voltage power platform, designed to automatically switch over from one voltage to the other when inserted into 30 different tools matching the respective voltage.
Greenworks is introducing its residential lithium-ion powered zero-turn mower, with a 42- and 46-inch deck, offering a 2-3 hour run time.
Greenworks’ North American headquarters is in Mooresville, N.C. They have warehouse facilities in Morganton, N.C., and an e-commerce facility in Seattle, Wash. The company is looking at doing assembly work in Morganton and possibly expanding into production there as well.