Woodstock Commercial E-Lawn Equipment Demo Event a Resounding Success

By Steven Wisbaum (the Mow Electric! Campaign) and Jeff Grout (TRORC)

June 29, 2023

On a recent sun-splashed day in late June, the Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC), Green Mountain Power, Sustainable Woodstock, the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, and the Mow Electric!Campaign teamed up with Woodstock Union High School to host a highly successful commercial E-lawn equipment demo event.

A large number of people took the opportunity to try out an impressive collection of state-of-the-art battery-electric riding mowers, leaf blowers and string trimmers.  Attendees included representatives from public works and recreation departments from Woodstock, Norwich, Bradford, and Rutland, the VT Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS), the Billings Farm & Museum, Dartmouth College, as well as elected officials, and local lawn maintenance contractors.

As an indication of the growth of the commercial E-lawn equipment industry and proof that electric equipment can provide the all-day run times necessary for commercial applications, five manufacturers including Gravely, Toro, Mean Green, Greenworks and EGO participated in this event.

In fact thousands of municipalities, colleges, public schools, contractors across the country have already begun the transition to E-lawn care equipment.  In Vermont, E-lawn equipment is now being used by at least ten contractors, the City of Burlington, the Burlington Airport, Shelburne Farms and UVM.

The fact that this transition is beginning to happen in Vermont is important because according to a recent analysis by DOT – Federal Highway Administration  gas-powered lawn mowers used by Vermonters consume over 5 million gallons of gasoline annually, and this doesn’t even include the millions of gallons of diesel fuel consumed by the commercial mowers used by contractors, municipal and state governments, colleges/universities, gold courses, resorts, etc.  And of course, beyond all the noise and air pollution generated, burning all this fossil fuel is also emitting hundreds of thousands pounds of CO2.

Although there are significant operating cost savings with E-lawn care equipment, its purchase price is higher than conventional equipment in large part because of the relatively high cost of the large lithium ion batteries needed to provide “all-day” run-times. To help reduce these higher start-up costs, all of Vermont’s electric utilities now offer incentives/rebates between $1,000 and $3,500 to purchase commercial E-mowers. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) also administers an EPA diesel emissions reduction grant program to replace equipment with diesel engines, including lawn mowers.

Information about available E-lawn equipment and incentives is available from your local electric utility, the Mow Electric! Campaign, the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, TRORC, and the VT DEC.  To be notified about future commercial E-mower demo events around the state, contact Steven Wisbaum at steven@mowelectric.org.


Winter Bike Commuting Webinar

What’s it take to become a winter bike rider? This workshop will break it down for you! Speakers are Peggy O’Neill-Vivanco from Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, and Eliana Fox from Local Motion. Hosted by UVM Transportation & Parking Services and The UVM Office of Sustainability