Battery power and electrification were popular topics among contractors and exhibitors at this year’s GIE+EXPO in Louisville. The intentions among contractors discussing commercial electric mowers are certainly sound: some want to reduce their carbon footprint; more want to eliminate fuel costs.

This signals to me that the industry is more ready than ever to consider alternative fuel solutions as a way to get out from the never-ending price volatility of gasoline.

The fact remains, though, that these all-electric units present a “pie in the sky” solution in a bottom line business. There is a solution that is ready today for contractors wanting reduced operating costs and a better emissions profile. When contractors do their homework, they find the only fuel source that can substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants while saving their business money is propane — not electric.

Battery-powered and electric outdoor power equipment certainly has its place in the industry. Newer handheld equipment like string trimmers and blowers have the battery life and power necessary to perform at a level that professional landscapers require. But once you take battery power out of a small string trimmer and into larger equipment categories — like commercial walk-behind and zero-turn mowers — the value proposition of battery-power breaks down. For example, a new commercial electric ZTR with the battery package (consisting of multiple batteries to ensure the equipment makes it through an entire day) can cost well above $20,000. That’s for a single mower, and is almost double the cost of purchasing a propane mower. This is assuming the electric mower never needs a battery replacement, which can tack on unexpected costs later. While there are federal funds available to help offset some of those costs, many federal-based incentives have strings attached to the program, including strict eligibility guidelines, qualifications, and reporting requirements.

Fortunately, contractors who want to save money on fuel can do so with propane. Propane doesn’t require substantial upfront costs and the return-on-investment is immediate. The fuel costs 30 to 50 percent less than gasoline and diesel mowers, and some contractors are even seeing bigger savings by taking advantage of an annual fuel contract or incorporating propane beyond the mower fleet to fuel its truck fleet, too.

Put simply, propane is the only alternative fuel that is ready to benefit a contractor today. Learn more.