Stihl electric handhelds

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by Monroe74, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. Monroe74

    Monroe74 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    Is anybody using them if so how do you like them?
    How long do they actually last ?
    How are you charging them during the day?
  2. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I did a sort of cost/benefit analysis earlier this year. When you look at the cost, lifespan of equipment and batteries and other little factors, it doesn't make sense to try to go all electric. The killer is the batteries and that holds true no matter what environment you look at, whether it's outdoor power equipment, solar power for your house or automotive.

    The batteries are good for about 45 minutes and then they have to be recharged. And as the batteries are cycled they loose a little ability to maintain a charge for a specific amount of time. When they're new they are good for about 45 minutes. As they age the time goes down that they will hold a charge. By about 500 rechargings, the batteries are so weak that they have to be replaced.

    For a solo operator it goes something like this. If in an 8 hour workday you use a trimmer for 3 of those 8 hours. That's 180 minutes. You'll need 4 batteries just to work one day. Bear in mind that that the time the battery is good for goes down each time the battery is recharged. So by the time you get to the end of the battery's lifespan you'll probably need 6 batteries just to use the trimmer for 180 minutes.

    Do you see where I'm going with this? It is cost prohibitive.
  3. Monroe74

    Monroe74 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    Thank you for your cost analysis but I was looking for real world experience.
  4. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,763

    I too am curious about this. The cost analysis route is interesting, but seems far lacking. For one thing, I would be impressed if you could keep your string trimmer engine running for 3 hours every day. But with an electric, if your finger isn't on the trigger, you're not using battery. There is no cost to idle. So 2 hours is a more realistic amount, but I suspect that it is even less than that (depending on the site).
    Now you're back to 4 batteries. And should get at least 2 years of life from them.

    Here's a simpler way of looking at it though. Forget how many batteries you need on-hand. That just confuses things.
    With 45 minutes of run-time and 500 charges, that's 375 hours of operation for each battery. Accounting for idle time, let's say that's the same as 500 hours of gasoline operation. Assuming you burn a quart an hour (and I freely admit I pulled this number out of my butt), that's 125 gallons of gasoline you burned (probably with the added cost of 2-cycle oil), vs an almost negligible electrical cost of charging the batteries.

    Ok, so there is a pretty high up-front cost, but the savings look like they can be real.

    Makes even more sense, when you realize that 500 hours of engine time on a 2-cycle engine without any repairs is optimistic.

    But all this thinking makes me want to hear some real world cases all the more.
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    Alright then. Do the analysis based on a trim man on a crew using it for closer to 8 hours a day.
  6. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Messages: 2,768

    That's not being fair. What solo guy is going to be trimming 8hrs a day? I think the idea here is to see how long it would last for a solo guy doing X amount of work a week or day for that matter. I know that I could get away with using a trimmer and blower on most of my properties without needing any recharge for a day if I had 4-6 bats. I don't see it being any good for a larger company with multiple crews using it all day, everyday.
  7. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Just get a power inverter for your truck and a really long extension cord!

    I read about a guy who used all battery equipment on lawns. He had a solar panel on the roof of the truck. He sold it as a premium service. Depending on where you are you might find enough "environmentally conscious" customers to make a go of it, but I think it's impractical for the most part unless you have all really small yards.
  8. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,763

    Ok, but what I'm trying to say is it doesn't really matter how many hours per day you're running the equipment to see if battery pays off over gas.

    The number of hours per day just tells you how many batteries you need to own, but if you double the number of batteries you own, you also get double the number of hours out of them before they wear out. This all divides out.
    So, yes, the initial investment for someone who runs the equipment a lot may be high because you need to buy more batteries, but that's not relevant to a cost/benefit analysis when comparing to gas.

    The question is how much does one time unit (lets say 100 hours) of operation cost. That's the only way we can make an apples to apples comparison of dollars.
  9. Monroe74

    Monroe74 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    If you were to buy a new 2cycle trimmer and two gallons of 2cycle oil. 1 spark plug, air filter, fuel filter, and 140 gallons of gas. Which is what one of my guys use for a 28 week season. The cost of the Stihl battery powered trimmer with 3 batteries and a charger. Come out to about the same at the end of year. With gas spread out over the course of the year and the electric all up front.
    So the second year the 2 cycle user still has the same costs as he did the year before prices being the same. Where as in theory the electric user would only have to buy batteries about 60 a piece. So that being said the second year electric user makes out better.
    What I want to know is if you are using one do you like the way it performs. Does it do as advertised?
    What issues have you had with it? I.E. you got caught out in the rain and it stopped working.
    If you need to charge the battery how are you doing it? I.e. solar how are you doing it? Inverter what issues are you finding with the vehicle ?starting etc.
  10. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,631

    How do you caculate the cost to recharge batteries???

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