Joe Conrad, CEO of Mean Green Products LLC. PHOTO: RON HALL

Joe Conrad, CEO of Mean Green Products LLC. PHOTO: RON HALL

The California South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) delivered a dozen new, battery-electric commercial lawn mowers to agencies in San Bernardino County as part of a long-term demonstration program to promote the zero-emission equipment. SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

An additional five mowers will be delivered to the agencies next week for a total of 17 mowers provided by SCAQMD, representing the largest such demonstration in the nation.

Each agency will use the mowers and provide fuel savings estimates, hours of usage and other information to SCAQMD to help in quantifying air quality benefits and monitoring equipment performance.

The mowers are manufactured by Mean Green Mowers based in Hamilton, Ohio, and include riding and walk-behind mowers. Depending on model, each mower costs about $3,000 to $20,000, which is about 25 percent more than a comparable gas model. However, considering the cost savings in gas and maintenance, the electric mowers could pay back the cost differential in about two years.

The mowers are about 50 percent quieter than a commercial gas mower. Depending on model, they can operate up to 7 hours on a single charge.

Commercial lawn mowers are typically used multiple times per day, have a useful life of about 10 years and use thousands of gallons of gasoline per year. Replacing one commercial gasoline-powered mower with a battery-electric model is expected to save 700 gallons of gasoline per year and reduce more than 600 pounds per year of smog-forming emissions and fine particulates.

Funding for the program comes from US EPA’s Targeted Air Shed Grant Program to implement incentive programs to reduce air pollution in the communities of San Bernardino and Boyle Heights.