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Thread: How long before small engines go electric?

  1. #1
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    Default How long before small engines go electric?

    I was looking at the snow blower thread, and thinking that would be a big ask for battery power - though I see small cordless snow blowers are a thing.
    Which got me thinking, with the push to go all electric for vehicles, how long before the sale of small gas engines is banned? They seem to be flying under the radar for now, but I'm about 100% sure our next push mower will be cordless - about ten years from now when our current Briggs and Stratton powered one dies.

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    I went battery with my mower two years ago. I will admit I should have gone 80 volts, but I went with the 40 volt Kobalt. I do not have a lot of yard, but a couple of batteries works out just fine. I really like not having to deal with gas, trying to start it repeatedly, and I love how quiet it is. I will never go back!
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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Not sure they're flying under the radar. It's well known that the emissions from small motors are pretty horrendous. I've gone cordless on the strimmer (18V Makita, skin only) and when the mower ran out of gas I didn't bother filling the jerry can. Last 2 mows have been with the corded Flymo I bought one particularly wet winter, and when I get fed up coiling/uncoiling the cord I'll probably replace that with a Makita too.

    Those bigger bits of garden machinery - wood shredders, rotorvators, snow-blowers, etc, they're not going to be cheap to make battery powered though.
    'When I leave I don't know what I'm hoping to find. When I leave I don't know what I'm leaving behind...'

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    A few years ago we hosted a BBC Planet Earth film crew. They had an electric outboard engine which was amazing. Silent, fast, efficient. I imagine they have gotten even better by now. Too bad we can't get one in this sh!thole country.

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    I got a corded electric weed whacker. It was cheaper than either the gas powered or battery powered units. It is also quiet and light weight. I see the cord as only a very minor inconvenience. I will probably not ever get a leaf blower because the dang things are so loud.

    In regard to electric outboards, trolling motors are ubiquitous here - one on just about every fishing boat and there are fishing boats just about everywhere. Trolling motors are cheap and very quiet.
    Will

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    My pet peeve is the noise. Anyone mows their lawn within several houses, even with windows closed, noise is well past 'annoying'
    "alternative facts (lies)" are a cancer eating through a democracy, and will kill it. 1st amendment is not absolute.

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    A battery powered electric snowblower would be nice, but bear in mind that an underpowered snowblower is worse than a shovel. And older battery technologies at least tend to be less powerful when cold.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    A battery powered electric snowblower would be nice, but bear in mind that an underpowered snowblower is worse than a shovel. And older battery technologies at least tend to be less powerful when cold.
    Yep - any battery produces less power when cold. Lead Acid can be reduced by 80% or more. LI-Ion are affected less - but still affected. Snowblowers need decent HP - so the batteries will have to be hefty. That means weight issues.

    I'm thinking there would already be battery snowblowers if they were practical, as battery mowers have been out for years.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    One more thing - electric power washers vs gas. A couple of years ago I tried to clean a driveway with an electric power washer. After 30 minutes I had cleaned a couple of square feet. I decided this wasn't cutting it. I then rented a gas powered power washer. With that I completed the whole driveway in a couple of hours. Since I still had time on the rental clock I did the sidewalks and everything else concrete. So, while electric power washers have a place they have a ways to go to compete with gas powered ones.
    Will

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Plus current lithium batteries can't be recharged when hey are below freezing. That means warming the batteries to above freezing before recharging. So if you run out of juice 2/3 of the way through the job on a typical cold morning, you will have to lug the batteries/snowblower (if batteries can't be removed) into a warm area and wait hours until the batteries are warmed through before you can recharge. Alternatively you keep spare batteries (expensive) in the house so they will be ready. It also means keeping the batteries/blower in a warm area.

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Small electric engines, you said??

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Been using a battery mower and battery leaf-blower for a couple of years. They do quite well compared to their gas equivalents, albeit a tad pricey. Snow blowers are available, although one with reasonable power is some $1200. Since the batteries are removable, keeping them inside is no problem. A for small gas engines, mowing the lawn produces about the same amount of conventional emissions (i.e. non-CO2) as driving a modern car for a week. FWIW, have been using an electric motor on the dinghy for years and for a couple of years it includes a solar panel for recharging. It's been great for our cruising needs.

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    A battery powered snowblower must per definition include a small wood or coal fired stove that heats the battery pack when it is in use. The only other way of running it would be to wait until mid May...... when the snow has disaperared.

    A bit like the 1950-ies when the typical starting procedure to get a tractor going for ploughing snow included lighting a wood fire under the oil trough. Some tractors needed more heat and some less. Ferguson FE35 with Standard Company's own diesel engine needed the most heat of all. When the paint on the bonnet started to bubble from the heat of the wood fire underneath the motor it was warm enough to be started.
    Amateur living on the western coast of Finland

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    https://www.homedepot.com/b/Outdoors...s/N-5yc1vZcem5

    already here. They have this magical thing called a removal battery. Take it in the warm house, bring it out to work.

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    I'd very much like an electric lawnmower, if just for the noise, but getting through the whole yard with one battery change might be a problem. A snowblower - I dunno, power and temperature and cost are all issues. I need to be able to blow two feet of heavy wet snow. I doubt emissions are much of an issue; I don't think I use five gallons of gas in the thing in a year.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by birlinn View Post
    Small electric engines, you said??

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    I bought an eGO electric lawnmower last summer. It's great. Will do our entire lawn (about 1/4 acre) on one charge. It's very quiet but I still wear ear muffs to protect the precious little hearing I have left.

    I used to live in Anchorage and had a fair size driveway/parking area at my small commercial shop. I used a Honda tracked snowblower. There was no way to push the snow into the storage areas but a blower could do it. I can't imagine how big the battery would have to be in order to generate sufficient power to do that... And drive the thing forward up a small slope.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    I don’t see batteries and electric motors replacing small engines where power, weight and running time are important.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    This year I started going electric EGO blower, string trimmer, and 10' pole saw all use a 2.5 amh 56v battery.
    Great tools.
    Tom

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    We got an electric mower over 20 years ago. If it ever dies, I'm thinking cordless for the next one.

    Got a Makita string trimmer, and a hedge trimmer last summer... and they are a treat. The battery technology is quite good enough for such tools. And getting better all the time. Not suitable yet for snow blowers, or ditch-witches, or suchlike. They'd eat up too many amps too fast.

    Chainsaws, even with the skinnier blades, are still what I'd call 'marginal' or light duty. Might still add one to the arsenal at some point. I have a small electric chainsaw that a friend gave me... but work is not always near an outlet, and it's a cheap bit of kit - and leaks oil like a sieve. So mostly it sits.
    David G
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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    I don’t see batteries and electric motors replacing small engines where power, weight and running time are important.
    Same could be argued for large engines.

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by willmarsh3 View Post

    In regard to electric outboards, trolling motors are ubiquitous here - one on just about every fishing boat and there are fishing boats just about everywhere. Trolling motors are cheap and very quiet.

    I have a torqeedo 1103 for my Montgomery 17. It's still in the box as my M17 is currently on the hard as I have been unable to register it in my name with Covid running amuck. Next year!
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    Same could be argued for large engines.
    That too.

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    All my hand tools are DeWalt: two drills, a driver, and a sawzall, 18 volts. Also bought a line trimmer with a 20 volt battery that outlasts my bad back.

    The Craftsman high-wheel line trimmer (our lot is rocky and brushy) and the Husqvarna snowblower are both 4-cycle gas. Haven't seen an electric model with sufficient power. When they wear out, I'll be looking.

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    My brother in law is a lawnmowing and lot maintenance contractor, has every grass and hedge cutting power tool you can think of, all the way from weed whackers up to a 60in ride on. All battery electric.
    He gets contracts from old folks homes, nursing homes, townhouse developments and such because he's quiet. He tells me that apart from really big jobs such as sports fields they actually work better than the gas powered ones.

    John Welsford
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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    My brother in law is a lawnmowing and lot maintenance contractor, has every grass and hedge cutting power tool you can think of, all the way from weed whackers up to a 60in ride on. All battery electric.
    He gets contracts from old folks homes, nursing homes, townhouse developments and such because he's quiet. He tells me that apart from really big jobs such as sports fields they actually work better than the gas powered ones.

    John Welsford
    Interesting. Brands?

    On another matter - did you see my email regarding the digital files?
    David G
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    https://www.homedepot.com/b/Outdoors...s/N-5yc1vZcem5

    already here. They have this magical thing called a removal battery. Take it in the warm house, bring it out to work.


    Right. Sure. Hopefully one charge will see you through the job. If not the recharge time can be inconvenient, compared to the instant nature of refilling a fuel tank.

    I'm all for electric but methinks two or more batteries will be required for IC equivalence.

    Kevin


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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Interesting. Brands?

    On another matter - did you see my email regarding the digital files?
    I picked up your email this morning David, thanks. I've been away from home for a few days, searching out a new berth for the ship, Found one but its not a liveaboard so I'll be doing a lot of cruising for a while.
    Blame that on the Americas Cup bringing so many boats from other areas into our local moorings and marinas.
    I'll get those files to you.

    The brand that Bro in Law uses, is the company in China that makes a lot of product for Stihl, I'll find out for you.

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  29. #29
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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    My son is an electrician, and he tells me that all the younger carpenters on building sites he visits have pretty much all gone cordless, even for largeish things like mitre saws.

    I know that before I retired the only time I got out my corded drill was if I had lots of concrete drilling to do.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Right. Sure. Hopefully one charge will see you through the job. If not the recharge time can be inconvenient, compared to the instant nature of refilling a fuel tank.

    I'm all for electric but methinks two or more batteries will be required for IC equivalence.

    Kevin
    I have three to do my yard. Even though they were expensive to buy, I only need to charge them once a week and I never need to buy gas, transport gas, and put gas into my mower and weedwacker. That is a serious win in my opinion. Again, if I had gone 80v, I probably only would have needed two, the one that came with the mower and the one that came with the weedwacker.
    "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito"

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  31. #31
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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    The 56v EGO tools are a game changer. Strong, last long, and recharge very fast. Caveat. one battery pack fell less than 2 feet. Will not take a full charge and as expected, cannot duty cycle like an unshocked battery pack. Local Ace offers mowers and throwers beside the hand held tools. EGO also offers commercial power packages that I don't need. I wish EGO offered a cordless drill. I have had enough work experience on my two acres.
    Tom

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    I have three to do my yard. Even though they were expensive to buy, I only need to charge them once a week and I never need to buy gas, transport gas, and put gas into my mower and weedwacker. That is a serious win in my opinion. Again, if I had gone 80v, I probably only would have needed two, the one that came with the mower and the one that came with the weedwacker
    I'm thinking a snowblower would require larger, more powerful, more expensive batteries ( or work for shorter periods) because a snowblower works harder than a mower or a trimmer, generally. But,for reference, how much are spare Li-On batteries for your equipment, roughly? ( Can't find lawnmower batts separate on Google in a general search)

    Kevin
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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom from Rubicon View Post
    The 56v EGO tools are a game changer. Strong, last long, and recharge very fast. Caveat. one battery pack fell less than 2 feet. Will not take a full charge and as expected, cannot duty cycle like an unshocked battery pack. Local Ace offers mowers and throwers beside the hand held tools. EGO also offers commercial power packages that I don't need. I wish EGO offered a cordless drill. I have had enough work experience on my two acres.
    Tom
    It sounds something has most certainly been damaged. Personally, I'd not be using that battery until I had it repaired on the off chance that it might short out or incur further damage.

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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    yea, I would take that battery out of service and see if you can get it repaired or replaced.
    "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito"

    -Dalai Lama

  35. #35
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    Default Re: How long before small engines go electric?

    I bought an eGo mower this year. I hate having to do maintenance on small gas motors, and it used to cost me $100 plus all the mess of loading the mower into and out of the car at least 3 times every summer just to make it work for me. My new electric battery powered mower is wonderful. It vacuums up all the damn maple leaves, crumbles them into compostible size and I can dump the bag wherever I need to kill weeds. The battery, whatever size it is, would do the whole lawn if I needed it to, but I rarely want to spend that much time walking behind it.

    So half a lawn for 45 minutes one day, another half another day.

    The whole concept of blowing leaves is environmentally unsound. Either leave them where they fell or chip them up enough so they break down fast or so you can compost them. If you've got enough RE to fuss with leaves, you should be composting.
    A society predicated on the assumption that everyone in it should want to get rich is not well situated to become either ethical or imaginative.

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