Richard Evans, Evans Lawn Care, Dallas, Ga.
The problem with gasoline and diesel mowers is that they have many maintenance issues.
Every week I find myself at the gas station filling my truck and gas cans. It doesn’t stop there; at the end of the day there are belts, grease, oil changes and the occasional bearing to service. Until now, no one has made a serious attempt at an all-electric mower, and after testing the Hustler Zeon I can see why. A lot of thought and engineering went into the Zeon to get the performance you expect from a commercial zero-turn mower.
Rarely a day goes by that I don’t hear a report on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and the size of our carbon footprint. So when I had the opportunity to test the new, all-electric hydro zero-turn Hustler Zeon, I knew it was time to wade in.
The Zeon does have its limits; for example, it can only cut for 90 minutes before it will need a charge. However, with a 36-inch cut and impressive power to the blades, it will cut at a fast pace. You should expect to cut three .25-acre lawns without a charge.
I work alone and maintain about 40 residential properties in the suburbs 30 miles west of Atlanta. All of these properties are between a .25 and a .5 acre, and the grass is typically bermuda in the front and fescue in the back. These lawns have the usual issues: valleys, berms and tight landscaping. For this type of property, I use a 36-inch hydro walk-behind with a 48-inch zero-turn.
I was somewhat skeptical of the Zeon mower at first, and it wasn’t until I decided to treat it like a commercial mower that it performed like one. To its credit, the steering controls are the smoothest I have ever encountered, and I have used a few; the blade tip speed is maintained well even under a heavy load; and the vacuum under the deck is very good, giving an excellent cut. Plus, the Zeon does not lose power as the batteries are depleted.
If all that is not enough, think about this: the maintenance on the Zeon is simple. Just keep the blades sharpened, clean and service the batteries as you normally would, there are only a few grease fittings for the deck pins and front casters and you are good to go. The deck height adjusts from 1 to 4.5 inches in .25-inch increments and can easily be raised on the fly to avoid obstacles.
Green mowers may not be at the top of your priority list, or even on your list at all, and to tell the truth, I couldn’t find it in my top 10, but they are coming, and Hustler is forging the way.
With my seemingly lackluster concern for the environment, you may wonder why I have any interest in the Zeon at all. I believe that nursing homes, hospitals, daycare centers and many communities would give favor to anyone who can maintain their property quietly. Using a Zeon mower might also allow me to mow on Sunday without getting assaulted by the property owner and their neighbors.
This machine, while in operation, attracts its fair share of attention. Some people as they watch it work have a confused expression. I saw one man tinkering with his hearing aid, and another that just could not grasp the idea of an electric mower. What, no noise?
I am not ready to give up my gas-burning mowers just yet, but the Zeon definitely has its place, and I believe I can make its use profitable.
Think you’ve got what it takes to put some new gear through its paces? Can you write a complete sentence and craft a piece like this? Contact Editor Amy Hill at [email protected] to get your name on our list of Turf magazine Field Test experts!