Is battery-powered landscape equipment right for you?

Perhaps you are considering ditching the gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment and investing in some battery-powered lawn and garden equipment for your needs at home. Maybe you are thinking about taking your landscape company to the next level and going green. Here at the New Hanover County Center & Arboretum, we began our transition from gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment to battery-powered lawn and garden equipment , but a lot has changed since we began our process. Let’s talk about where the industry is today for the needs of the homeowner and commercial landscaper. Between emerging battery technology, government incentive programs, and legislative actions, you may want to seriously consider the change if it suits your needs and can meet your demands.

The capacity of lithium-ion battery technology to meet the performance needs of both the homeowner and the commercial landscaper has grown leaps and bounds. With battery-powered lawn and garden equipment, we can match the power of traditional gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment, some brands tout 56V which is more than double what we had grown accustomed to as the standard power available. Batteries themselves charge quicker, last longer, and can hold a charge indefinitely (with exceptions). I have spoken with a couple representatives from your trusted brands and each of them virtually said the same thing – to paraphrase, if you aren’t looking at battery-powered equipment now, you will be because the technology has gotten to the point where the power matches that of gas-powered equipment; interchangeable batteries allow you to work while the other battery charges; and recharge times are equaling work times.

Legislative action has tilted the scales and has sent the industries on a new trajectory. In December of 2021, the state of California banned all sales of new gas-powered equipment beginning in 2024 and more recently voted to eliminate sales of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035. Many other states may soon follow suit with trigger laws, identical language found in California’s bills, or implement their own strategies and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to some degree. It is a recipe for advancement as a society for the health, safety, and future for everyone.

Battery-powered mowers do carry an expensive initial cost which has many consumers wary of making the switch from gas-powered mowers. For the homeowner, costs of battery equipment are now comparable to gas equipment. On the commercial side, the sticker price for acquisition will soon pay for itself with the heavily reduced maintenance and fuel costs associated maintaining a gas-powered fleets. In August of 2022, the Biden Administration signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a tax credit for electric vehicles. Upon inspection of the details, you will find that this also offers a tax credit of 30% (maximum of $7,500) on each piece of battery-powered equipment that qualifies. To qualify, a piece of equipment needs to be any commercial-grade battery-powered lawn mower weighing less than 14,000 lbs. and has a minimum battery capacity of 7-kilowatt hours. It is important to note that the credit applies to each piece of equipment, so there are significant savings out there. The tax credit is available on purchases beginning January 1, 2023, and is set to expire in 2032. The IRS will be issuing further guidance on claiming this credit prior to the filing period for the 2023 tax year.

Making the switch is up to you. Not every company has the same number of clients and every homeowner does not have the same yard to maintain. Please understand the technology has come a long way. There are lots of options for equipment out now that can be tailored to your exact needs, budget, capacities, and goals. Your neighbor or your client just might thank you.


Kevin Cassel is the grounds maintenance supervisor at the New Hanover County Arboretum, home to NC Cooperative Extension for New Hanover County. The grounds are free and open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: Is battery-powered landscape equipment right for you?