When I think of Husqvarna, I think of chainsaws with 36″ blades that can fell large trees in a single pass. I think of 10 horsepower snow blowers that can clear a driveway in ten minutes. So when I learned that the Swedish power equipment company had developed a solar-powered lawnmower, completely eliminating the gas-powered hum created by virtually all of their products, I was intrigued.
Americans love their lawns. But keeping that patch of Kentucky bluegrass green and neatly-cropped has some pretty serious environmental impacts, especially considering that 54 million Americans mow their lawns each weekend. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a traditional gas powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution as 43 new cars each being driven 12,000 miles. So how can a person who wants to maintain a neatly-kept lawn do so more sustainably? Putting the question of water needs aside, one must look at the tools they use to cut the grass.
There are the stalwart human-powered lawnmowers, which are pollution-free and provide a good workout to the operator and there are the electric lawnmowers, which reduce localized air pollution but still require to be plugged-in. There are even lawnmowers converted to run on biodiesel. But for those who are looking for the latest in solar-powered home gadgetry, look no further than Husqvarna’s new line of automatic solar-powered lawnmowers.
The 18 volt, 4 amp Auto Mower 230 can take care of a lawn of up to 3/4 acre on its own, cutting up to 1300 square feet per hour and running 90 minutes on a single charge. The mower operates practically silently and has “collision sensors,” which react to garden furniture, trees, pets and whatever else in its path. The little guy is even equipped with anti-theft protection.
Much like the technology used in invisible dog fences, a small wire is staked to the ground below the grass level, or buried just beneath it, around the perimeter of the lawn to be mowed. The on-board navigation system on the Auto Mower monitors its position relative to the wire keeping it in the area to be mowed.
And what I think is perhaps the coolest feature of the Husqvarna’s new solar-powered lawnmowers, when the Auto Mower needs more power, it finds its own way to the charging station, charges itself and begins mowing again.
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