Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

SEP 2017

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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by Mike Dahl LC/DBM Above Thanks to ongoing advance- ments, battery-operated equipment is turning up more and more in profes- sional landscapers' inventories. Electric motors can perform at the same level as combustion engines, so a battery- powered leaf blower can output just about as much cubic feet per minute as a gas model: over 500 CFM for hand- held units and close to 600 for back- pack ones. One of the main hurdles of adoption though is the limited energy a battery provides. David Glueck, senior product manager at electric equipment manufacturer Greenworks, says better battery management is one solution. To that end, his company is developing four-port and six-port chargers that re- plenish batteries sequentially overnight to meet a maintenance pro's daily needs, which Glueck and colleagues have found to average 20 to 30 batteries. W With all the strides forward made recent- ly in battery technology, especially in the automotive industry, it is not a stretch to see the dominance of this power source in the near future for outdoor power equip - ment (OPE) applications. With that in mind, LC/DBM explored the current state and coming expectations of this subject. About a year ago, two LC/DBM editors tested a leaf blower at a regional trade show and were pleasantly surprised at the results. One of them, a small-framed female, said, "I could lift it with one hand and operate it and it didn't push me back. And it was pretty powerful." Her companion that day added, "When she first turned it on, the force of it threw (the blower's nozzle) back about 90 de - grees. It was full power right off the bat." Before discussing where the industry is presently at, David Glueck, senior product manager at electric equipment manufac - turer Greenworks, broke down the es- sential aspects of batteries. He explained that voltage is the horsepower or torque a battery can produce and that ampere- hours (Ah) is its capacity, or how much energy it can store. Drawing that energy out – a piece of equipment's startup speed – is referred to as discharge (being able to discharge quickly is critical for efficient op - eration of outdoor power products: think of using a chainsaw to limb a tree). The typical cell of a battery used to power OPE puts out about four volts so a 20 volt variety would have five cells. Increasing volts is increasing cells and of course increasing the size of the battery, which has understandable limits when it comes to certain types of equipment, such as those used for landscape maintenance. According to Glueck, the standard Ah of a cell has been two for a while. Cells in a given battery can be used in unison 32 LC DBM A Look at Battery Technology Today and Tomorrow Progression Power OF THE PHOTO: BOSCH

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