STIHL’s Kent Hall knows as well as anyone that landscape contractors have been slow to give battery-powered equipment a serious look. Like many others in the green industry, however, he sees that skepticism softening in the wake of major advances in lithium-ion technology.
“Plus, you have more and more companies now that want to go green,” said Hall, who spent the latter part of this week talking with landscapers at GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Kentucky. “(Battery-powered equipment) is a little more up-front (costs), but you see major savings on fuel and maintenance” that quickly makes up for the initial investment before the net savings grow throughout the life of the equipment.
STIHL equipment powered by its 36-volt, 1,148 watt-hour AR 3000 backpack battery delivers gas-powered performance, the company says, and runs up to 13 hours.
In an interview at the trade show, Hall was quick to credit STIHL dealers across North America with educating themselves on the state of the technology and communicating those advances to their landscape customers.
“There’s some excitement there,” he said.
Asked what was catching landscapers’ eye during GIE+EXPO, Hall pointed to STIHL’s new line of pressure washers. While one model targets retail consumers, he said, the “other three are all powerful enough to interest commercial users.”
Hall said all of the gas-powered machines are equipped with specially designed Kohler engines.
The most powerful model in the line, the RB 800, is an industrial strength pressure washer. It features a 429-cc, 14-horsepower engine delivering 4,200 psi water pressure.
The RB 800 as well as the model just below it, the RB 600, is equipped with commercial-grade Triplex pump components such as a brass manifold design, stainless steel valves and ceramic pistons.
The RB 600 delivers 3,200 psi via its 208-cc, 7-horsepower engine.