Landscape Services Acquires Electric Mowers, Contributing to Sustainability Goals

Physical Plant Landscape Services recently purchased two Gravely EV Electric Zero Turn Mowers to add to their alternative fuel tool kit, as part of their commitment to supporting the UMass Amherst campus carbon neutrality goals. Fusioncore, the industry's first swappable lithium-ion battery, powers the Gravely EV Electric mower.

NEWS Laborer on electric mower
Jesse Lucas, Landscape Services, skilled laborer

Gravely was chosen for a variety of reasons, including quality and longevity, which has been exhibited in the Gravely gas-powered mowers Landscape Services already owns. Reliable parts and reliable service are crucial to the campus landscape operation. Gravely is the only company with removable commercial-grade batteries. Each of the four batteries can be removed for charging. On a full charge, the mower will run for six to eight hours. Charging time with a speed charger is five hours or eight hours with a conventional charger.

Another valuable feature of the Gravely is the automatic regulation of ground speed and blade speed. If the grass is tall or wet and the blade tip speed slows, the unit will automatically reduce the ground speed to maintain optimal blade tip speed. This gives a quality cut in all conditions. This mower is quiet, zero emissions and user friendly. An adjustable seat adds to the operator's comfort.

“The Gravely mowers are a terrific addition to our inventory.  The mowers are user-friendly and with existing Gravely mowers in our inventory, we have compatible available parts for repairs. We also have a positive relationship with our local Gravely dealer,” says Clint Kelly, motor equipment mechanic, small engines.

The continued effort to be good environmental stewards will focus on the reduction of gas-powered hand tools (string trimmers, backpack blowers, chain saws, edgers, etc.). The Landscape Services staff are meeting with the Husqvarna business development manager in the beginning of November for product review and Q&A session.  In 2018, Landscape Services received a Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Leading by Example Award for our commitment to reduce carbon neutrality. Recently, UMass Amherst received a state grant of $150,000 to purchase additional alternative field landscape equipment.  The Gravely Electric Z Turn mowers were purchased from this state grant.

“UMass Landscape Services is moving towards a greener future and battery-powered landscape equipment is part of that course. We all want cleaner tools but they need to perform. Therefore, we choose our electric alternatives carefully with premiums on build quality, performance and run time. The Gravely Pro-Turn EV is built on a chassis previously proven to our operators minus the vibration noise and exhaust of the internal combustion models. The quality of cut is excellent, and the batteries get our operators through their shifts on a single charge. There are some limitations, these machines cannot be used to bag leaves or plow snow like our diesel mowers, but it is a step in the right direction. We look forward to continually testing and adding battery-powered equipment to UMASS Grounds as the technology continues to evolve,” says Todd Cournoyer, head of grounds, Landscape Service.