MANY South African men view battery-powered equipment the same way as they do alcohol-free beer: weak and expensive.
That’s according to Jenna Robinson, Go to Market Manager for Husqvarna, who believes the perception is changing – to the applause of women, especially those in farming.
“There is so much evidence to validate the current move to battery power, particularly in agriculture, and especially for women,” Robinson said.
She added that whilst there is a wide range of battery-powered equipment on the market, three products – chainsaws, brush-cutters and polesaws – are particularly helpful for farmers, and more specifically women farmers.
“Traditionally, most of this equipment has been operated by men but, with the advent of new technology, women are now also able to productively manage these tools as well. Right from starting the machine (no more arm-breaking pull-cords) to lifting it and using it effectively.”
She gave seven reasons she believes battery power is better, not just for women, but all farmers.
1. Lighter and simpler: The weight and complexity of petrol-powered tools has meant that very few women have been able to operate them. But the introduction of battery-powered versions has changed all that. They are up to 40% lighter and easier to use. Plus, with the current trend of diversified farming, being able to use labour across multiple tasks is invaluable.
2. Lower operating costs: When comparing a new purchase of a petrol and battery-powered machine, the initial outlay is more on battery-powered. But the savings in operating the battery-powered version will mean you’ve made back the money in approximately six months.
3. Less theft: Soaring fuel process makes stored fuel for machinery an increasingly tempting target. With battery power, that concern is cancelled. There’s also less incentive to steal the equipment itself as it is practically useless without the charger, which can be stored separately.
4. Fewer repairs: Petrol machines require a special mix of 2-stroke oil with the petrol. Forgetting this oil or getting the ratio wrong will result in engine damage and repair bills. This limits who you can trust to refuel your machines. Not so with a simple battery change.
5. Increase productivity: Lighter machines vibrate less, reducing fatigue, which means operators can work better for longer, whether they be men or women.
6. Environmentally friendly: Battery machines don’t run on fossil fuels or emit fumes like petrol ones. They’re also quieter which means less hearing damage for consistent users.
7. Cleaner: Refuelling of petrol equipment inevitably results in fuel being spilled on the grass, the machine, clothes, and shoes. Add wind, dirt and dust to the mix, and it’s a gritty, corrosive affair. Batteries are significantly cleaner.
“It’s the same with any new technology. First, we we’re wary of it. Finally, we wonder how we ever lived without it. Early adopters of battery-powered equipment are already reaping the benefits and singing its praises,” Robinson said.