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Toro doubling down on commercial electric mowers

October 31, 2021


Visitors to Toro’s Minneapolis headquarters test the company’s 144-inch zero-turn mower (left) and the GrandStand Revolution electric stand-on mower (right). (Photo: ATN Staff)

Visitors to Toro’s Minneapolis headquarters test the company’s 144-inch zero-turn mower (left) and the GrandStand Revolution electric stand-on mower (right). (Photo: ATN Staff)

Toro’s commercial lawn mower business plans to launch two battery-powered units — a stand-on unit and a zero-turn mower, both of which will go on sale next year.

“We’re trying to build a (return-on-investment) model that will let commercial landscaping companies turn a profit on these units quickly,” said Jared Neussen, product marketing manager for the Revolution electric series.

Neussen said the return will come in multiple forms — lower fuel costs, more work hours in a day, government incentives to go green and lower maintenance costs.

“When you look at traditional gas units, you’ve got the engine, there are ton of components on there,” Neussen said. “You also have your belts, you’ve got your pulleys. There’s a variety of smaller components, and the costs of those add up.”

The two electric models — the GrandStand Revolution stand-on mower and the Z-Master Revolution zerio-turn — instead have three deck mowers and two drive motors. Neussen added, “The belts, the pulleys, the engine components, all that’s eliminated. It’s simplified in many fewer components.”

Toro engineers also focused on modular designs, something that lowers their production costs and makes the units simpler to maintain. If crews have GrandStand and Z-Master electric units, the drive or deck mowers are interchangeable. So, maintenance teams can have small numbers of replacement mowers instead of having to worry about keeping the proper belts and pulleys for specific designs.

Toro Revolution Z-Master (Photo: ATN Staff)

Toro Revolution Z-Master (Photo: ATN Staff)

Unlike consumer electric mowers, the battery modules on the commercial units are hard installed in the mowers, not swappable when power runs out. However, Toro’s various commercial electric units use the same types of batteries, so certified mechanics should be able to swap battery packs between Z-Master and GrandStand units if batteries need servicing.

While Neussen said Toro is concentrating on showing operators they can achieve a quick ROI, calculating that number will require knowing how big the investment is. And, the mower giant has not yet finalized pricing on its Revolution electric lineup. Those numbers will likely be released around launch early next year.

In addition to maintenance cost savings, Neussen noted the electricity tends to be cheaper than gasoline, and landscape company operators may be able to extend service hours by mowing earlier in the day with the quiet, electric units. Some customers may be willing to pay premiums for environmentally friendly mowing services, and some states offer rebates and other incentives to replace gasoline or diesel units with battery-powered ones.

“We see a lot of avenues to get an ROI on one of these,” Neussen said.

Toro has a bat-wing-style ride-on mower with a 144-inch (yes, 12 whole feet) deck. Company engineers said the 144-inch model is a variation on the popular 96-inch 7500-D series mowers. That mower only has one wing while the 144-inch model has two.

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