Hord Landscaping & Lawn Care is seeing several advantages to operating battery-powered lawn equipment thanks to the efficient on-board charging capabilities of the new Solar Lawn Truck.
Scott Hord officially started his company, Hord Landscaping & Lawn Care in Campbellsville, Kentucky, in 1994 after graduating from college with a degree in horticulture. He had been mowing lawns long before that, though, getting his start as a teenager before he even had his driver’s license.
With 30-plus years of operating traditional engine-powered lawn equipment under his belt, Hord has spent his fair share of hard-earned dollars on gasoline. Nowadays, he is spending a lot less.
In May 2018, one of Hord’s lawn maintenance crews began operating out of a brand new innovation for the green industry. The Solar Lawn Truck offers the same productivity-enhancing features as the truck it was patterned after, the Super Lawn Truck. In addition, the Solar Lawn Truck comes equipped with essential lawn maintenance equipment that runs on battery power, as well as everything needed to keep the lithium ion batteries charged all day long in the field.
The Solar Lawn Truck itself runs on gasoline. However, its cutting-edge setup is helping Hord save a lot of time and money when it comes to fueling a long list of everyday lawn equipment. The truck is also giving him a strong competitive advantage with a variety of residential and commercial clients.
Benefit #1: Save on fuel and oil
Hord Landscaping & Lawn Care offers a variety of services including residential and commercial maintenance, lawn care, lighting, hardscaping, irrigation, and athletic field installation and maintenance. Roughly 23 employees work on several different crews across these service departments.
Hord says the reduction in fuel consumption by his Solar Lawn Truck maintenance crew became obvious almost immediately. He is also spending considerably less on engine oil.
“In talking with Tony Bass (founder and owner of Super Lawn Trucks), we’d determined that we would likely start showing a positive ROI with the Solar Lawn Truck within three years,” Hord says. “After operating it for a season now, I think we’re definitely going to achieve that. There is a little more upfront cost to operating battery equipment, but you save considerably over the long-haul. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
According to Super Lawn Trucks field data, a gas-powered backpack blower operating for an average of 500 hours will use approximately $1,125 in fuel each year. A battery-powered backpack blower uses just $40 of electricity for 500 hours of use.
As a landscape contractor broadens his or her use of battery-powered equipment, the fuel and cost savings start to add up quickly—just as they have for Hord. His Solar Lawn Truck crew is now operating everything from battery-powered push mowers and string trimmers to leaf blowers and chainsaws. Greenworks has partnered with Super Lawn Trucks to provide the commercial-quality, 82-volt battery-powered equipment.
Benefit #2: Reliable, hassle-free, all-day power source
The Solar Lawn Truck makes it very easy to keep batteries charged all day long in the field. The truck functions similarly to a solar-powered home. Solar panels on the roof of the Solar Lawn Truck’s integrated, enclosed trailer convert sun rays into electricity. That electricity is used to charge the lithium ion batteries right inside the trailer.
Hord says his crew has never been caught off-guard without enough fully charged batteries. Every night he places all eight batteries on the charging station in the Solar Lawn Truck. Then, during the day when the crew is working, some batteries are recharging while the others are powering equipment.
“It is working out very well for us,” Hord says. “We’re in a rural area. We have quite a few larger properties. Some of our properties are also spread out quite a bit so we have some drive time. The Solar Lawn Truck is able to recharge batteries fast enough that we’re able to simply swap them out from property to property.”
Hord had operated battery-powered equipment in the past. In order to get through a full day’s work, he typically had to opt for a larger backpack battery. It provided the necessary power and runtime, but was not easy on the operator.
“That thing was just like carrying a backpack blower around,” Hord relates. “I much preferred simply slapping a smaller battery right on the trimmer, blower or whatever I was using. My employees liked that a lot better too. That’s what we are able to do today thanks to the Solar Lawn Truck. We always have batteries fully charged and ready to go. We rarely, if ever, need to use a backpack battery anymore.”
Benefit #3: Improved performance
In addition to ease of use and fuel/oil savings, Hord says there are also performance gains to be made by switching to battery-powered equipment.
“Battery-powered equipment is lighter, and it’s a different kind of lighter,” Hord points out. “The head is a little heavier, but the other end is a lot lighter because a battery doesn’t weigh nearly as much as an engine. It took our guys a little time to get used to it, but now they really like it and are more productive over the course of a day.”
The Greenworks battery-powered string trimmer gives Hord’s crew the power and runtime needed to efficiently complete most trimming tasks. “If we’re ever on a job where we have to trim a fence line that hasn’t been trimmed in a long time, we might need to go with a gas-powered trimmer with a little higher head speed and maybe a blade. But for most of the situations we encounter with our weekly maintenance accounts, the Greenworks trimmer has been excellent.”
The same can be said about the Greenworks battery-powered chainsaw and/or pole saw. The Greenworks push mower, hedge trimmer and debris blowers are always up to the task.
Benefit #4: Quieter
The significantly quieter operation is what really captured Hord’s interest in battery-powered equipment. It is giving him a leg up in terms of both customer satisfaction and crew productivity.
“We service a lot of properties that have noise restrictions,” Hord says. “During the early morning hours, as well as when tours are going on, we often had to shut our gas equipment completely off. Now with the Greenworks battery equipment, we can keep right on working. We’ve been really impressed and our customers really appreciate it.”
Benefit #5: “Green” resonates with today’s consumers
Hord says his crew’s use of the Solar Lawn Truck and its battery-powered equipment is something he is emphasizing when talking with both existing and prospective clients.
“Everybody wants to go green these days,” he says. “We’re reducing our use of fossil fuel as well as our carbon emissions. We’re reducing the amount of noise we create on jobsites. That’s a good thing. We’ve been testing this for several months now during our busiest time of the year. We’re confident that we can really push the value of this because we know it’s going to work. I have yet to hear an employee tell me that the equipment or charging station didn’t work. I’m excited about the future.”
A closer look at the Solar Lawn Truck
Hord had actually operated Stihl battery-powered handheld equipment in the past. He liked it, but wanted something a little more lightweight. He also wanted a more efficient way to put this technology into the field.
“From the experiences I had already had, I really believed in the Super Lawn Truck,” Hord shares. “I also believed in Tony Bass, the inventor and founder. When I’d heard he was putting together a truck that would help companies like mine make the transition to battery equipment, I knew I wanted to learn more about it.”
Three Solar Lawn Truck packages are available with either a 16- or 18-foot body length, and either with or without a 2.5- or 5-cubic-yard debris dumper. Each truck is equipped with the complete Solar Power Charging System which includes:
Electrical power distribution
Circuit protection for safety.
Additionally, each Solar Lawn Truck comes equipped with a full arsenal of commercial-duty, lithium ion battery-powered lawn equipment from Greenworks valued at more than $5,000:
(1) push mower
(2) string trimmers
(1) stick edger
(2) backpack blowers
(1) pole pruner
(1) handheld blower
(1) hedge trimmer
(1) 9-amp-hour backpack battery
(8) 2.5-amp-hour batteries
“My only hope now is that Greenworks starts making a good battery-powered riding mower,” says Hord, whose crew continues to operate a gas-powered zero-turn for the time being. “Otherwise, I know there are other electric riding mowers available and will start looking into those. For a lot of the work we are doing, I have no doubt that battery-powered is the way to go.”
For more information on how the Solar Lawn Truck can help your landscape company become part of the lithium ion landscaping revolution, visit Solar Lawn Truck.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this interview was conducted, Greenworks has released a 48-inch stand-on mower and 60-inch zero-turn riding mower – all powered by 82-volt lithium ion battery technology. Super Lawn Technologies is currently field testing these mowers with competitive brands to determine best-use scenarios. Stay tuned to this story as the results come in.