The folks at Hustler Turf of Hesston, Kansas, plan to introduce the Hustler Zeon, a clean-sheet-designed, battery-powered, zero-turning-radius mower at the Green Industry Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, later this month. They called us late last week to tell us their news, and I immediately asked whether I might take a pre-Louisville look at the concept, which is just what I did today.
Wow, is about all I can say. The Zeon is a full-fledged ZTR mowing concept that is eerily quiet, simple to control, comfortable to operate and doesn’t generate a single bit of pollution directly. You don’t have to wear ear protection, breathe fumes or get all heated up while keeping the lawn lovely with this new machine. In addition to the obvious advantages of electric, this mower has many fewer moving parts than its hydro/mechanically motivated counterparts and is simple to build and to maintain. Gone are belts, hydraulic hoses and controls, pulleys, PTO clutches and other bits and pieces that require routine maintenance and adjusting. In their place, the Zeon uses a pair of DC motors to drive the cutting blades directly and a pair of microprocessor-controlled AC motors to control the drive wheels. Speed and direction are controlled with a pair of levers, as with most ZTR mowers. When the mowing is finished, just plug the machine into a standard outlet, and it will be ready for work the next time you need it.
The Zeon is rated to easily mow an acre on a single charge. An integrated battery minder will shut the deck off when the juice gets critically low to leave enough energy to bring the mower back to the shed for a recharge.
Zeon pricing hasn’t been determined, but expect the initial 48-volt 42-inch cut, side-discharge deck equipped model to be priced competitively with similarly-sized high quality ZTRs.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.