Fully Charged Tests Battery Versus Gas – The Lawnmower Test

OCT 9 2015 BY MARK KANE 72

Battery V Petrol. The Lawnmower Test | Fully Charged

Battery V Petrol. The Lawnmower Test | Fully Charged

Calm down everyone. It’s not what you think. Robert Llewellyn is not at all disappointed with the Tesla Model S and he’s not changing to covering a different industry.

Lawnmowers are our friends, electric ones, with batteries. And they need our support too.

Lawnmowers prove a huge difference between efficiency of electric drive and petrol engines and that’s what this video explores.

“With the use of a Bosch GRA 53 Professional lawn mower, I do a comparative test to see how much work you can get out of equal amounts of energy stored in a battery and petrol.”

According to the test, the electric lawnmower could do the job up to 100 minutes on the same amount of energy that  the petrol lawnmower will use in less than 7 minutes and 30 seconds! That’s well over 10 times more!

Electrical apliances were with us to welcomes EVs (see below), so now we join forces.

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72 Comments on "Fully Charged Tests Battery Versus Gas – The Lawnmower Test"

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What he doesn’t tell you is that mower is $1680…without batteries or chargers! One battery and charger are sold as a set for $260, so the whole kit he has will set you back $2200 dollars!

I wonder why they don’t offer them in the US…other than the fact that this is what obese, car obsessed Americans now use? 🙁


I thought obese Americans would love the robotic lawn mowers.

I love mine and will never go back to manually cutting it.

I have a Remington battery electric lawn mower that I bought at Sears that cost a little over $300. I have half an acre lawn and it mows it just fine.

I got the same on clearance for $130 and it works beautifully.

Unfortunately, though, I can no longer say “I used more gas in my lawnmower than my car this year”. 😉

So badly want one of these lawnmowers! Maybe someday.

I wonder why he didn’t include the price of the land, land in the UK is much more expensive then here in the states, what a horrible comparison! Oh, wait, that wasn’t the point of it… gotcha, my bad.


Actually, the 4.5 acres we mow is handled with a 24 hp two cylinder Kawasaki powered 52″ cut Gravely zero turn mower over about 4 hours time. {Due to the roughness of terrain, not the mowers speed capability.} I spend more on gasoline for the mower to do grass than for 4 out of my 5 days 40 mile round trip commute in my Prius.

That said, please show me a {non-lead acid} battery powered mower that I can reasonably buy that will cut at least a 48″ path. The Gravely wasn’t cheap, so I don’t expect you to show me a $2500.00 mower. When I find one, I can put it in use along with my cordless lithium string trimmer and my cordless lithium snow blower.

I bought my GreenWorks 19″ battery electric lawnmower 3 years ago for $500. It came with a 40V 4amp and 40V 2amp battery. I bought a GreenWorks string trimmer for $170 and it came with a 40v 4amp battery. Each set came with a charger.
All in, I’m at $670 with 2 chargers, 3 batteries, and a very nice lawnmower and trimmer.
I can move 1/3 of an acre using about 60% on each of the 4amp batteries (after 3 years of use). And it’s about 2x to 3x quieter than the bosch mower in the video.
The amazing silence, lack of maintenance, ease of use (electric start *wink*), and ease of “refueling” was worth every penny.

BTW, the other day I calculated what it cost me to cut the 1/3 arce lawn. It was around $0.04 including electricity losses in charging. I love this thing.
For those interested, I have the G-MAX battery version.

A generation ago, American kids would cut their parents tiny lawn with a push mower. Today the lawns are too big, and the kids are too fat. Instead, former construction workers from the housing crash compete for lawn care work, driving around in their big pickup trucks pulling trailers full of zero turn mowers as big as my first car!

I miss the EV1, amazing that car was on the roads in the 90s. Design still looks futuristic today.

You can forget that. We won’t be seeing any two seat, hypercars for sale by any OEM…unless it is a collector’s limited edition, greenwash version, like VW’s XL1.

Given the (unfortunately) hypothetical choice of having the two-passenger EV1 (made over 15 years ago) or the four-passenger Spark EV (the only BEV GM currently makes, and that’s the Korean branch BTW) both with the same range, which one would you rather have?

Same range? Actually the EV1-NI-MH from 16 years ago had a much better range than the Spark


You’re right, 20 miles or 25% greater range is nothing to frown upon.

So… which one would you rather have? 🙂

Wow. The EPA claims the EV1 used 91 kWh/ 100 miles for a 2 seater! That gives it a 37 MPGe. That comes out to around $4.50 per gallon equivalent to operate on electricity.

I think for the same price I would take a 2017-18 Bolt with more range.

Something is wrong with those data.
Because the EV-1 could cover 160 miles at 60 mph with approximately 30-35+ kWh battery.
Just punch this : avt.inel.gov/pdf/fsev/eva/ev1_eva.pdf

The Gen 2 1999 EV1 could not go 160 miles on the current EPA cycle. It could go 160 miles at flat steady controlled highway speeds. The same can be said for any EV. Teslas have been driven over 400 miles under controlled conditions which are not EPA drive cycles. The EPA link posted above gives the EV1 a range of 105 miles on the current, modern EPA cycle. Here is a testimonial I found on the ancient FAQ page for the EV1: “My Gen 2 EV1 with NiMH batteries typically gave me 100 miles around San Diego and 125 or so on trips out of town where it’s much flatter.” The Spark would have a greatly increased range if it were to be tested on the SAE J1634 drive cycle the 99′ EV1 was put through. The modern EPA range for the EV1 adds up if you do the math. The 99′ EV1 had a curb weight of 2,900 lbs. due to it being a two-seater without any of the safety requirements of a car in 2015. It had a pack capacity of 26.4 kWh. On a full charge the EPA says it would get 105 miles. The Nissan… Read more »

Sorry to disappoint you but the EV1 was the state of the art concerning security and feature.
Jump at 7 minutes. .. then go back and view it all.
This GM video is about the Lead Acid version.

And about the one pointing at the number of seats, tell seriously what is the great difference, and what would be the Spark, the Leaf or the Bolt’s range with all the seats full?

Here is the testimony of a real test from the real world.
“freeway commuting with minimal stop and go: 130-150 miles per charge

city driving mixed with freeway (including “performance demonstrations”): 100-130 miles per charge

worst case – hard use including driving in the hills: 75-100 miles per charge”


My point is that the gas car company could do ten times better now if they wanted to. They are laughing at us.

You spend a long comment trying to show the EV1 had a little less range than “modern” BEVS. .
HEYMAN! There has been SIXTEEN YEARS in between…

Djoni said:

“…the EV-1 could cover 160 miles at 60 mph with approximately 30-35+ kWh battery.”

There were some rather wildly different claims for real-world range for the EV1… possibly because a relatively high percentage of those early adopters were doing a lot of hypermiling?

But 160 miles is very exaggerated. Some drivers reported having trouble reaching 80 miles in a daily commute, even in good weather.

A rather silly episode. He should have weighted the batteries and put that much fuel into the gas mower, but he’d still be mowing.

I don’t like petrol mowers, and some of the comments about noise and nasty petrol were spot on, but the overall theme was a fail.

Why on earth should he compare weight?
Then at least compare the weight of the energy carrier (i.e. petrol vs. electricity*), but that makes no sense at all does it.
Comparing the weight of the batteries with the weight of the fuel tank would make sense, but where’s the fun in that.

This episode is about energy efficiency and if you take into account that a petrol engine of this size and wear is about 10% efficient, his results are spot on!

*Although calling electricity an energy carrier is also up for debate.

Who cares about the energy efficiency of a lawn mower? It’s a trivial amount of energy. The weight of a lawn mower is more important.

Firstly, I dispute it’s a trivial amount of energy. Secondly why is weight more important in your eyes. Either option is light enough to do the job effectively.

So – the amount of Gas (energy) Used to mow a lawn, is less than the amount Spilled in getting fuel INTO the lawn mowers?



I do care!
Using less to gain more is a motto, and it should be share by all who want to reduce any damage done to the environment and leave a place that is livable to those who’ll come after us.
This is why as Warren write many time that big SUV and overpower car isn’t the way we’re gone make it better.
Is staying obese, fat, lazy and unhealthy making anyone better.
I don’t think so.

He could also compare the weight of the motors and chop of more than half of the petrol engine. The Bugatti 16 cylinder engine with 800kw weights 640kg, a equally strong and refined electric motor would weigh about 160kg.

Electric lawn mowers, and electric SUVs are not the answer to our over planet destroying over consumption.

It is one of the answer.

Bitching about it on the internet is the solution.

Bitching about the bitching : “Bitch-bitching” … I agree with Warren, these things are of little significance when you read stories about how recycling is pointless (NY Times last week), CO2 emissions keep growing, and political will is somewhere long flushed down the toilet of exuberant consumption fueled corporate rule. I have PV, geothermal HVAC, two EVs, an e-bike, and electric lawnmower … but mostly all that is just to make me feel better. We need coordinated government led, or perhaps societal coercion of some sort, policy to create substantial reductions in energy use and pollution creation.

Warren said:

“Electric lawn mowers, and electric SUVs are not the answer to our over planet destroying over consumption.”

By targeting the SUV market, Tesla will maximize the impact of each of its cars on total gasoline consumption. Each SUV/CUV BEV (such as the Model X) which replaces a gasmobile SUV/CUV will reduce gasoline usage, and reduce overall CO2 emissions, quite a bit. Note that such a reduction has much more impact on total gasoline consumption, and total CO2 emissions, than an EV sub-compact replacing a high-MPG gasmobile sub-compact.

You really have to be a glass-half-empty kinda guy not to see the Model X as a step in the right direction.

A gas lawn mower pollutes more than an SUV…so it’s a bigger part of the solution than most people realize.

Not sure if a generation ago kids were pushing mowers. Might go back farther than that. I do recall, as a kid, we had a true, manual, non-motorized push mower, as well as a gas powered reel mower. No weed whackers, just a sickle, and hand trimmers for weeds. Almost no one owned riding mowers. Kind of crazy to see where things have changed so much that it seems that half the houses on a suburban block are getting landscapers to cut their lawns. Can honestly say that I never saw a landscaper until 10-15 years ago. Now, in the warm months, there are so many out on the roads first thing in the morning that there are jam ups caused by all the trucks.

Yeah, back in the 40’s and the 50’s. Remember the first gas powered mowers were put on top of reel mowers, which cut better than rotary mowers, as they tear the grass less.

In the 1950s, my cousin, who was ten years older than me, installed a made-in-USA motor on his parent’s made-in-USA reel mower, and cut their lawn with it. The mower maker, the motor maker, and all the other manufacturing was shipped out of the US by the financial manipulators who own this country.

MPGe is calculated by assuming a gallon of gas has the equivalent energy to 33.7 kwh. .42/33.7 = .0125 US gallons, or .0125*3785cc/gallon is 47.3 cc. A little less accurate perhaps but it looks like your numbers are good.
Thanks for the video.

I quit trying to grow grass (and waste water) in the great west desert 15 years ago. It also saves lot on lawn mowers!

I’ve been looking for a good electric mower for quite some time. Preferably one with a 22″ or better deck. Unfortunately almost all electrics are 19″.
Also, I prefer one with a cord, but these are limited in the amount of power they can pull on a heavy duty extension cord.

It seems the best solution at this point is a robot; the cost is comparable to the mower in this report; it’s electric, and it reduces my workload significantly. I will try it out next spring.

I want a two-stage snowblower that I don’t have to build myself.

We have a greenworkstools electric mower and it works great. They have a new 80V one that has a 21″ deck.

Kind of a disappointing video.

Too much fluff. Just give me a decent estimate on how much that mower will really cut……it’s not even 1/2 kwh so it can’t be that great. Seems to me you’d want at least 1 kwh in a mower.

Standard EGO is 4ah @56vdc. Lasts longer than I do. I go till it stops (or I stop), rest and charge, and we’re both ready in about 1/2 hour. I only need 2 charges to do 0.39 acres.

Pretty amazing it goes that long Loboc. 4 amphr @59 Volts is only 1/4 of a kwh. Pretty amazing.

I keep thinking of buying a spot welder so I can build my own Li battery packs for these small devices.

as Nissan said in the last Leaf ad. There are Talkers and Doers.
Do-ers make informative videos, drive electric vehicles, look for alternatives, advocate and inform.
Talkers complain about it on the internet.

It’s not really true. A lot of us doers also like to talk and complain. So the world is not that black or white 😛

I junked my 22 year old car three days ago. My new electric-assist cargo bike well take over recycling center and grocery trips, saving 900 car miles a year. Living in a passive solar house 36 years this month. I have every right to bitch.

You keep playing the “Greener than thou” card. But there’s always somebody out there who thinks the same about you. For example, your habit of going to the grocery store. Why don’t you grow your own food?

BTW, I got rid of my car years ago. Does that make me “better” than you? No, it just means I have a different lifestyle.

I disagree. Not driving for years does make you better than me, all else being equal. And growing you own food would make you better still. Pretending that our choices don’t matter, and are just a “lifestyle” lets us all off the hook for our bad choices, like children.

He’s definitely pretending alright.

Pushmi-Pullyu said:
“BTW, I got rid of my car years ago. Does that make me “better” than you?”

But don’t you currently drive a minivan? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

On September 17, 2015 at 7:20 pm, Pushmi-Pullyu said:
“We have a Chrysler Town & Country minivan. . .”


Pushmi-Pullyu said:
“Does that make me “better” than you? No, it just means I have a different lifestyle.”

Yes, a CO2 spewing, gas-guzzling lifestyle. 😉

I have an EGO mower (56v) an EGO hedge trimmer (56v), B&D (36v) weed wacker and blower and a corded chain saw (14″ bar) which will soon be replaced with the EGO 56v chain saw.

I no longer keep or need different mixtures and sizes of gas containers.

I got the leaf blower, it’s really nice!

Yeah they are nice specially for blowing anything on your neighbor’s lawn or in the street for public service to clean it up.
This is the way I see people using them around here all the time.
Pretty bummer behavior.
And when it’s done on Sunday morning with the petrol one, I really lose faith on human being.

Same here. 🙁

I can highly recommend the Greenworks line of products – bought two With the 4Ah batteries (mower and snowblower) and use those to power the rest.
been years since I had a gas can..
(I keep the leaf blower in the house over winter to keep snow off the step before we go out)

I couldn’t watch the video due to a Shockwave trouble here, but, in general I find my Toro E-cycler uses around 1/10 the money to cut the lawn that a gas push lawn mower would. One thing about the Toro: It is way underpowered; mine has a 1/3 horsepower on a good day. In other words, if the grass is even slighly wet, or a bit too long, the lawnmower will stall, and for some reason, they took a standard lawnmower blade and made it 1/4 as thick, so when I take the blade to the lawnmower sharpener he bends the piss out of the thing and I have to spend over an hour getting the thing back in some semblance of dynamic balance. As to the ‘fat Americans’ comment, this E-cycler requires that you eat your Wheaties in the morning. The 3 small lead-acid batteries in it are just enough to do my lawn under perfect conditions, (have to do it in stages if not), but since the lawnmower is so HEAVY, you really get a work out wrestling with it around the yard. Overall I like it, but then again, I like novel electric gadgets anyway. I was… Read more »

His comparison regarding energy is misleading because he’s neglecting battery charging inefficiency. It takes more than 1 kwh of mains power to get 1 kwh of battery compacity in the battery.

But then they always screw up these ‘objective’ comparisons.

Not to mention the ‘prime mover’ on the petrol lawn mower is right there, but the electric one is some place else. Whatever.

There is a decent cost savings as mentioned, mine is 1/10 the cost of a gas powered lawn mower, but it would probably only be 1/2 the cost if the 2 lawn mowers I was comparing had the same size ‘engines’. My TORO has 1/3 hp, – so a MICRO sized gas engine would be the only fair comparison, which they don’t sell.

I don’t think so, since he do not include the energy it took to extract the petroleum, distillate, transport, pump, moving to the gas station pump it again spilling some on the tarmac, get back home, poor it in the gas tank spilling more around killing your grass and starting with super rich choke on for a few second.
At this point I would also calculate the annual tune up and oil change and the recycling energy to do it and why not the evaporation of the gas and the cost of the jerry can and funnel, and the starting rope you’ll eventually change.
Would that be more accurate?
How about air and noise pollution, health incidence that nobody can really put a price on it?
Gas is a looser in any scenario.
Won’t you thing so?

Hehe, I just like to keep these people honest when they start getting into specifics. I’m actually agreeing with him, that by my own Toro E-Cycler I also only use 1/10 the cost of electricity compared to the cost of refueling a very basic gas lawnmower. The E-Cycler is refreshing in a way: very Fred Flintstone. No electronics in the mower itself, other than a safety battery charging diode. Its just the darn thing is SO underpowered – you’d have to try it to believe it. Like the other poster, as a kid (around 16) I took a 1931 Delco 1/3 hp ‘R-I’ motor that was originally used as a ‘central refrigerator system for 4 appartments (SO2), put a #18 AWG 75’ cord on it, hooked it up to a reel mower that had a blown gas engine, and cut the lawn with it. Unfortunately, the motor was heavier than a modern day 5 hp electric motor and much heavier than a 10 hp gas engine – they sure didn’t spare the cast iron on this very serious, long-lived motor. But since repulsion start motors have 400% starting torque, even this ‘invention’ by a 16 year old could cut the… Read more »

When living in Port Townsend, WA, I had a Toro Recycler battery-powered mower I got for ten bucks at a garage sale. Zip tied two flexible Uni-Solar PV panels to the handle. One to each battery. Left it sitting outside all year facing south. Mowed the yard all year and never plugged it in once.

That is McGuyver cool.

Disappointing video. There is no mention of pollution. I recall hearing that using a 2-cycle leaf blower for a few hours emits more pollution that 100 ICE cars emit in an entire year.

Yes, 2 stroke motors should be banned for most non commercial uses as they are loud and very polluting. Chainsaw in the woods? It will be interesting to see if the energy density of Li-Ion batteries gets high enough for such applications. I wouldn’t bet against it.

I’ve used the Kobalt Li-Ion battery 21″ push mower all summer. It works fine on our flat 1/4 acre lot. It’s very light and easy to push. I bought it because the old gas one was starting to burn oil and I don’t like breathing pollution or listening to the loud noises of a primitive ICE. It’s rated 80 Volts (72 nominal), 144 watt hours capacity, and 2 amps for each of the two batteries. Each battery will go 30-45 minutes, depending on grass type and height setting. Charging from a fully depleted battery (won’t run mower) takes 38 minutes. Using an energy meter with the charger, it requires 0.15 kWh to charge a battery. For me it takes 1.5 battery energy to mow the yard, or $.03 worth of electricity. The old gas mower was $.50/mow at $2.50/gallon gas. The batteries are actually made up of 18650 cells, so if it dies after the warranty, it can be hacked and repaired.

Pretty impressive, if it will cut tall grass on 250 watts. I wonder how long the batteries will last pulling 1.3C-2C out of them?

The Bosch is also a 21″ blade, brushless motor design, but has two 36 volt nominal, 6 Ah batteries in series, so potentially could pull three times the power.

I use electric lawnmowers with extension cords. Yeah, it is kinda wonky but they are amazingly reliable, don’t cost much, and have decent power.

Yeah, I sometimes don’t pay close attention and run over the extension cord. But with some electrical tape and five minutes, I’m back up & running.

And at 120 volts, and typically 10-13 amps they can cut some grass.

Too bad electric cars can’t be run off mains power. Oh, wait. That would be light rail.

I got the ryboi mower, I think 26 inch. It takes the same 40 volt battery as their other yard machines. My lawns are not near big enough to drain the battery.

I was overhauling the old gas mower once year. This one will probably go forever with virtually no service required.