Gravely Pro-Turn EV

With many commercial and industrial property companies specifying their maintenance contractors use electric battery-powered machinery, as well as the push by government in many areas, we are seeing the big players in the conventional zero-turn mower market shift their focus to developing commercial battery-powered machines. Gravely is one of the leading quality commercial brands made in the USA, and I have always been impressed with its machines. It was a pleasure to give the new Gravely Pro-Turn EV a run.

Drive

At first glance it looks just like a modern conventional zero-turn from the Gravely brand, and the bones of the machine are of course the same. That’s a good thing, as Gravely has spent many years developing quality machines.

Four 16KWH Fusion Core Lithium-Ion batteries provide the power to the Pro- Turn EV. These are quick-change batteries located at the rear of the machine where the engine would normally be in a conventional machine. The batteries are protected by a hinged hood with struts that lift effortlessly to reveal the power plants. Driving the mower are two 5KW Next-Gen transaxles that provide instant responsive drive through the lap bar controls and propel the mower to a forward speed of 11mph in fast mode and 8mph in slow mode. These two drive speeds are adjustable in an instant by the flick of a toggle switch. The response of the drive is different to conventional machines. It’s easy at first to oversteer and takes a little time to get accustomed to, but once familiar it is much easier to control with less effort required to manoeuvre the machine.

Ergos

The 52 inch X-Factor 3 deck is constructed from 7-gauge steel with reinforcements in critical areas. It is the third generation X-Factor deck which has been redesigned to give improved grass dispersion. Different to conventional machines, there are no pulleys or belts and therefore no maintenance on the top of the deck other than debris removal. Conventional spindles are replaced with 3.5kW electric-motor spindles. These electric-drive spindles have a blade-slip feature preventing damage when inevitable hard impacts occur during operation. A lower bearing enables the drive spindle to be maintained and rebuilt if required. Raising and lowering the deck is via a footoperated lift with a drop-in pin system to select cutting heights. I like the drop-in height selector. It is much easier and quicker for the operator than some other similar designs with the pin inserted from the side.

A very comfortable suspension seat with adjustable operator weight control ensures operator comfort, an essential feature with this type of machine being used for extended periods.

Gravely is one of the leading quality commercial brands made in the USA. Image: Prime Creative
Run time

I know most people’s first question with battery-powered equipment, and especially equipment designed for the commercial market is, “How long is the run time?” Often that is what disappoints. The Gravely Pro-Turn EV has a runtime of up to six hours, depending on the length and thickness of the grass and the terrain. This is very good considering the size of the machine and its capabilities, although I am sure many would say that’s not a full day’s work. But if you consider time taken to snip edges, blow down and so forth, I’d be confident not too many operators would run their machines for longer than six hours in a day. If you do run your machines longer, the four removable batteries can be changed quickly if you purchase additional batteries, although the batteries, like all good Lithium-Ion batteries, are not cheap.

Warranty

Operating the Gravely Pro-Turn EV is a pleasure, with its quietness benefiting both the operator and bystanders. Its performance is not compromised compared to conventional engine-powered machines, although I did not get the opportunity to use it on long, wet grass. But for general mowing, manoeuvring and drive it’s equal. This unit starts at a RRP of $53,399 including GST, and includes four batteries and a charger. Yes, it is considerably dearer than petrol-powered machines but… there are no fuel costs, no air filters, no oil filters, no spark plugs, no oil, and no pulley bearings or belts to replace. So over the life of the machine a considerable saving would be made on maintenance and running costs. Gravely backs the new Pro-Turn EV with an exceptional commercial warranty, offering a massive 5-year/1500-hour warranty, including a no-hour limit for the first two years. That’s terrific peace of mind for anyone still sceptical on battery-powered gear.

 

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