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STIHL Commercial Lithium-Ion Series (Electric Rechargeable Trimmers/Blower) 36v

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by TimTim2008, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. TimTim2008

    TimTim2008 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,772


    he Future of Professional Green Technology Is Here

    STIHL Harnesses the Power of Lithium-Ion Battery Technology

    STIHL Lithium-Ion technology – No Gasoline, No Emissions, No Power Cords.

    STIHL harnesses this technology to produce an exciting new line of cordless, battery-powered outdoor power equipment. The result is a new breed of environmentally responsible products, eliminating both fuel costs and exhaust emissions. You can “save green” while “going green” with STIHL Lithium-Ion technology.

    The 36-volt AP 160 Lithium-Ion battery is designed for long running times with quick recharges and operates at full speed until depleted, so there is no gradual drop in power during use. Batteries can be charged hundreds of times without any noticeable loss in capacity, and special battery electronics constantly monitor the battery to ensure optimal operation and a long service life.

    STIHL Lithium-Ion battery powered products:
    Environmentally responsible option for high-performance machines
    Eliminate fuel costs for less expensive long-term operation
    No cord, no exhaust emissions, no gasoline smell
    Instant startup – just pull the trigger
    No need for oil and fuel mixing
    Less vibrations and quieter equipment performance
    No gradual drop in power –runs at full speed until battery is depleted
    Two batteries available – with 80 or 160 watt hours of power
    Long service life – more than 80% of battery capacity remains after 500 charges
    Battery design monitors temperature and shuts down if too warm or too cold
    Intelligent battery circuit board exchanges data between tool and charger
    AP 160 battery can be used interchangeably with the AP 80 battery


    Anyone own any of these products?

    If i could save just 1 gallon of gas per day ($4 @ just 100 days) that would pay for each tool.

    vs 1kWh to charge the battery (7cents in power).

    Now i doubt the blower is strong enough, but if the trimmers alone work, the gas savings, and no more visits to the small engine tech, this could really save me $..

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  2. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    It's not that simple.

    The run time of the FSA 85 with the big battery is 45 minutes. Then it takes, well, it doesn't say how long it takes to charge the big battery with the rapid charger. Hmmm... In fact, they don't state what the charge time of the big battery is with either charger.

    It's really hard to do this comparison when Stihl doesn't provide the information necessary to do a true cost analysis.

    Okay, we won't even bother to include the amount of time wasted while waiting for a battery to charge. You can just buy more batteries, but wait, that increases the cost of ownership. Hmm...

    I'll try this another way.

    We know the big battery will last 45 minutes until it suddenly, and without warning, dies. It would be nice to have a meter on it so I could have avoid the trip back to the truck to replace the battery. Darn, 10 more minutes wasted.

    Okay, 45 minutes (maximum, it may be less depending on what I'm trimming, easy grass or deep grass) per battery. I use my trimmer for 2 hours each day so I'm going to need 3 batteries to complete a day of work. Just how much do those batteries cost?

    They have an advertised life of at least 500 charges. It may go more, it may go less. Who knows? But we can multiply 500 times 45 minutes and divide that by 60 minutes (in an hour) and expect to have to replace the batteries every 375 hours. And regular gas trimmers are good for 1,000. I'll have to buy 3 sets of batteries for every trimmer just to equal a gas trimmer.

    Okay, I get home with my 3 spent batteries. I can either sit around baby sitting my batteries while they charge with my one charger or I can charge all 3 of them at once with 3 charges. Decisions, decisions. Oh, I know... I'll charge them at the customers houses while I work. Opps. I forgot and left one behind one day. Someone then walked off with it.

    You see... It is not cheaper. I have gone over this stuff a million times. Gas is still cheaper.
  3. TimTim2008

    TimTim2008 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,772

    was just qutoed from my dealer, $299 for each trimmer, & chain saw.

    and battery is $259, for the first one.. and 2nd one half off (plus rebate).
    and $49 for charger.

    batt only last about 45mins of use, each charge.
    recharge in 30-70mins
    if anyone can beat that price, pm me. (hint, hint)

    i guess its a Huge upfront cost investment.
    im also pissed about how much gas, my guys, (and even myself) SPILL every year just on the back of the truck alone.
    so, i was trying to find another way out.

  4. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    So you're going to have a man running a trimmer for 8 hours plus a day? You're going to need 11 batteries. :laugh:

    It sounds like you need to have some serious retraining in refueling techniques. Approach this from a professional standpoint and they will get it right the first time and remember it. Go through the whole process including the mixing of the oil and gas. And you need to practice your training seminar before you give it to them. You may even want to contact the fire department and see if they would be willing to put on a gasoline fire demonstration at their place of choosing for you. Put together a comprehensive training program and it will pay off.
  5. cleanairNC

    cleanairNC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    I have the blower and the heavy-duty trimmer. I have a total of 3 batteries. Each battery does have a lighted meter on it indicating battery life remaining. The rapid charger does the big AP 160 battery in 30m or less. I can tell you that for typical residential mows, the blower and one battery will get you through the better part of a day. Its actually pretty good, but probably not as useful for big commercial jobs. If you are planning on doing multiple hours of trimming each day, Richard is correct, this may not be the machine for you. I know not everyone can do this, but installing an inverter on your truck will allow you to take a charger with you and charge batteries while in the field. We actually have ours running off energy pulled from a solar panel set-up in the back of the rig. This allows us to charge on the go, and more importantly, not buy any gas. $100 rebates help ease the cost, making it a little more affordable. Again, electric is not for everyone (which is actually good for me, as it definitely sets me apart from the crowd in this industry).
  6. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    Your whole message is a good reply. You offered information and counter points without attacking. I like that. :)
  7. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,747

    According to this:
    A gallon of gasoline contains around 33.41 kWh of energy.

    Yes, the electric motor is probably 5 times as efficient as an internal combustion, BUT if you were to add an inverter to the mix, and charge off your vehicle, then you're probably burning MORE gas in your vehicle than you would be in a trimmer (because of the inefficiency of your vehicle's engine, PLUS the inefficiency of the inverter).

    Even charging at home, isn't 7 cents though.
    Assuming the electric is 5x more efficient, it would cost 47 cents in electric if you charged the batteries at your ridiculously low electric rates , to get the same use as a gallon of gas, or $1.41 at my ridiculously high electric rates. There are savings there, but not as much as you were thinking.

    cleanairNC's reply shows a great use case for these. I can think of several others, but they're not for everyone. It's a niche item, and either it's great for you, or a lousy choice.

    At least with Stihl, the reviews I've read say that the power is there (the hedge trimmers are supposed to be badass, and easily as good as a gas model, but lighter), so it's not like you're using home-store electric junk. It has finally reached the level where it CAN be used professionally, but I'm not sure if the up-front costs make it worthwhile for everyone.

    Maybe you can use their quiet operation as a selling point in better neighborhoods, or their "green'ness"?
  8. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I talked with my John Deere/Stihl dealer about the electric string trimmer and hedge trimmer and was extremely impressed with the string trimmer. I don't know how well they would work for large commercial jobs, but they would do very well on residential lawns.

    I played with the string trimmer a little in the dealer's showroom and was pleasantly surprised with it. The thing is extremely well balanced and lighter than any other trimmer I had ever used. It was also VERY QUIET!

    The 45 minutes of run time did scare me a little but after talking with my dealer I realized that 45 minutes would actually get me through several accounts. The thing with the run time is that the 45 minutes is continuous run time, the trimmer is only drawing power when your finger is on the trigger. So as you walk from one part of the lawn to another to trim, the machine is actually not running. So it isn't like a gasoline engine where you have to keep it running the whole time you are on a lawn.

    For me, most of my accounts can be trimmed in roughly 5 minutes, with only a few taking 10-15 minutes. And the trimmer is not actually trimming as I am at that property. So I definately see how these products can be beneficial to companies.
  9. LawnGuy110

    LawnGuy110 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,105

    Simple solution for spilling gas...get the no spill gas cans...I used to be the same way...spilling gas everywhere until i got a no spill..works like a charm
  10. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,632

    That is the big question. How much "trimmer run time" does a guy need to trim a day's route. That 45 minutes may work if you take 5 minutes each to trim 8 lawns. If.

    I forgot that an electric motor doesn't burn energy at "idle", so that is a big factor. With a 2nd battery for backup, it could work.

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