GLC began testing STIHL's battery equipment three years ago by outfitting a couple of maintenance crews with new string trimmers, blowers, push mowers, and hedge trimmers all powered by batteries. It was a trial run, and both team members and clients have been very happy with the results. The battery equipment is quieter, lighter weight, and requires less maintenance than gas equipment does. Currently, three maintenance crews use battery equipment and they're slowly transitioning the others.
The biggest question we get on the battery-powered equipment is "Don't the batteries run out?" Marty stopped to chat with Roger Phelps of STIHL at GIE last month to get his take:
Smart businesses are always looking ahead at trends and adapting their business, and GLC is constantly trying out new ideas so we can share what works with you. There are three steps they took early on to make sure the crews were set up for success:
Set up your trailer to easily recharge batteries. Maintenance teams use enclosed trailers that keep all of their equipment on them each night to avoid additional loading and unloading time. They plug the trailer in at night to recharge everything.
Invest in spare batteries. Avoid downtime by having fully-charged spare batteries in the trailers. When a battery dies, the dead one goes back onto the charger and the team member grabs a fresh one. It takes less time and effort than refueling a gas machine would.
Have a power source you can use while in the field. We have a battery onboard each trailer that recharges at night, and can then recharge our equipment while crews are out. Roger outlined multiple ways they've seen companies do this in the video, too.
Battery equipment allows our team to do work with less noise disruption, fewer mechanical problems, and without sacrificing performance. It's been an all-around win for our teams, and maybe it can be for yours as well. Marty even liked it so much, he bought his own set to use at home.