Power Equipment Australasia

“And this year we intend to replace our winery gas 300Lhot water service with an energy-efficient heat pump,” Joseph explains. Other imminent acquisitions include a Greenworks whipper snipper, as well as a 2.5t electric forklift to replace a 2.5t Nissan petrol/gas unit. Ultimately, the couple plans to purchase an electric ute to replace their existing 2.2 Ford Ranger ute. PERFORMANCE Many observers of these kinds of transitions are sceptical about the performance of electric equipment compared with petrol or diesel predecessors. However, Joseph is quick to defend the ease of use and effectiveness of good-quality electric devices. “For example, I purchased our Greenworks electric ride-on mower last September to replace a petrol ride-on– it was a great time to buy it because we had our wettest October ever and I’ve mowed our 15ac property probably nine times,” he says. “I’ve done 146 hours in it in just over one season. “Cutting-wise, it’s just as good as petrol; back in September and October, if it was a little bit wet, the mowing deck could clog up just as easily as the petrol mower’s, so you have to go a bit slower. “But it’s a little bit faster than the petrol and much more efficient – you’ve got no belts, no grease nipples on the mandrel housing that runs the blades. You just turn it on and go. And I purchased four extra batteries. It’ll run for about 1 hr 50 mins just on general mowing of the vineyard, and batteries take one hour to recharge. So, you constantly have batteries ready to go.” COST SAVINGS According to Joseph, his old petrol ride-on mower used to consume approximately one litre of petrol per acre, taking a full day to mow approximately 10ac. In the course of a busy workday, he estimates he might have used 10L of petrol on the ride-on and 3L for a full day’s work with a petrol whipper snipper, totalling 13L of petrol at a cost of about $25. By comparison, he says recharging electric equivalents for the same work costs approximately $1.80, based on sacrificed rebate tariff returns. “And there are all the savings in time – we don’t have to go to the petrol station to get petrol.” Ballycroft is at the vanguard of a new wave of electrification of domestic and agricultural outdoor power equipment, with cost savings already manifest in dayto-day operations. V2G connectivity, furthermore, serves a social function in helping to smooth out peaks and troughs in community-wide energy usage, relieving pressure from the grid by transforming electric vehicles into mini powerplants. Sunny times are indeed ahead for small operators choosing to take the plunge and invest in solar technologies. OPERATOR PROFILE The Nissan LEAF electric vehicle forms an important part of the vineyard’s centralised electric power management system. Ballycroft is among the first properties in Australia to make use of V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) renewable energy via their Nissan LEAF electric car. Solar-generated power is free, controllable, and data-rich to ensure easy monitoring. 12 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | MARCH - APRIL 2023

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