A Cut Above The Rest

The battery-operated Enviromower is so impressive, the Queen of England bought one…

For anyone who has nearly yanked their arm out of its socket trying to start a lawn mower, the Enviromower is going to have immediate appeal. However, apart from its very seductive ‘just push my button and off I go’ feature, there are several other benefits to this Australian invention that even the Queen of England found irresistible – but more about that later. The Enviromower is an alternative to both the petrol mower and the plug-in electric mower. It runs on a rechargeable 24-volt battery that will give about an hour and 20 minutes of mowing time on a normal lawn – less if the grass is very tough or wet. Recharge it overnight (about 12 hours) and it’s ready for the next mow.

Caption: A Melbourne invention, the Enviromower is now exported all over the worldAHJProduct01Nov05

The Enviromower is the brainchild of Melbourne motor mechanic, Shane Williams, who is almost as interesting as his invention – inventor, King Kong movie extra and pals with the Duke of Gloucester. In 2001, Shane decided there had to be a better way to mow his lawn when his car ran out of fuel on the way to the service station for petrol for his out-of-fuel lawn mower. His desire to invent was also stimulated by learning that there are a quarter of a million lawnmowers sold in Australia per annum, which is a third of the number of new cars sold every year. It took him just three months to have a product on the market. Consumer magazine, Choice, reported that in just one hour, a single 2-stroke mower emits the same amount of Volatile Organic Compounds –precursors to smog – as 40 late model cars! It is estimated that a battery powered mower creates 85% less CO2 than a petrol mower, even when the electric power comes from brown coal generation. The Enviromower is also 50% quieter than a petrol mower, and its components are replaceable, recyclable and exchangeable to minimise obsolescence. As part of their environmental policy, the company purchases renewable Green Power to compensate for electricity used by their equipment. According to Shane, the Enviromower is very popular with women, who find it easy to start and handle. With a lightweight yet strong hardened-polypropylene body that won’t rust, cleaning is as easy as turning the mower on its side and hosing it down. It’s also very safe. The cutting blades only begin turning when the safety control lever is depressed and a security key is further protection – the mower won’t start without it. The lawn mower height can be adjusted to six different positions from 14mm to 75mm, so mowing very thick or tall grass, or achieving a fine low cut, is just a matter of altering an easily accessible lever. The Enviromower comes with a grass catcher and also converts to a mulching mower by inserting a mulching ‘block’ and swapping to a purpose built mulching blade. There is no need for regular services with the Enviromower – maintenance entails little more than sharpening the mowing blade at the beginning of each season. Running costs are also minimal – no oil, petrol, spark plugs or air filters to purchase. Power to recharge the battery from mains power works out at about four cents per charge. The recyclable batteries last on average 5-7 years and can be replaced at a cost of approximately $99. An optional trimmer and edger attachment uses a nylon cutting line to trim horizontally, or at a 45 degree angle around trees and other obstacles. Set vertically, it will edge along walkways, driveways or planting beds. Enviromower comes with a two-year parts and labour warranty, which covers all parts, options and accessories. There is a seven-year warranty on the chassis and life time on the wheels. Visitwww.enviromower.com.au

Oh, and about the Queen. As Shane tells it, he was strutting the Enviromower’s stuff at the Chelsea Flower Show in England when the Duke of Gloucester wandered over. Following a bit of a chat, the Duke returned with Her Majesty, who showed great interest in the Enviromower, although she pointed out it might be a little small for her ‘garden’. Next day, the Duke revisited Shane’s stand, told him the mower had been the topic of dinner conversation at the palace, and ordered a mower for Kensington Palace.

By Janice Ryan