Product Review: Enviromower (Solar Lawn Mowing)
Long before I had any overtly green leanings I loathed petrol powered mowers. It was my first paying job, as teenager, mowing neighbourhood lawns. The noise, the fumes, the stench, Yeesh. So, many moons later, forced into mowing the yards of rental properties I opted for a human-powered reel/push mower. (And a hand sickle to slash neglected patches back into something it could manage.)
But our current lawn trounced even my very stubborn attempts to persist with the push mower. The solution: buy a solar-powered mower.The Enviromower, which we observed back here, was conceived in Australia and is also sold throughout Europe, the UK and New Zealand. And in North America, except there it goes by the name of Neuton. It's a battery-powered electric mower. As we buy accredited 100% Solar GreenPower from our energy utility, our Enviromower is, in essence, powered by the sun.
The battery is a sealed unit of two linked 12V lead-acid type batteries. It can be removed from the mower, or left in-situ to be recharged. This takes about 12-16 hours. (I originally had my eye on the 36V Bosch Rotak LI with its lithium ion batteries, which are said to charge in one hour! But these mowers seem to be only available in Europe.)
The batteries are marketed as running for up to 80 minutes on a full charge, but our first one seemed resigned to conking out after only 10 minutes, which was frustrating, to put it mildly. We contacted Victa, who added the Enviromower brand to their stable at the beginning of 2007. They were helpful, saying the problem was very unusual. They recommend a full home change of the battery before first use. Victa supplied us with a fresh battery and charger. It has been giving 55 minutes, which seems reasonable, as Sydney has recently endured a heap of rain and no doubt the grass has been very water dense and heavy.