It’s All about the Battery

This past summer I wrote about my purchase of an electric lawnmower, and I said in that post that I would offer a follow-up post focused on my experience with the mower. Well today is the day you have been waiting for.

Let me start by saying that overall, the mower has been great. It does a great job cutting the grass, and is easy to start, and very quiet when running. The only negative is that it carries with it the potential of running out of battery power.

During the summer, the battery was never a problem. Since I wanted to get rid of any gas I still had in my old mower and in a couple of plastic containers, I would use my old mower for our front lawn and the electric mower for the back yard.

So I never ran out of battery power, at least not until today.

Today was the first time I tried using the mulching feature as a way of dealing with the leaves on my lawn. As I’ve written about before, I prefer to get rid of my leaves in this way, as opposed to raking them into the street for collection by our township.

Well the combination of the time needed to cut both my front and back yard, as well as the extra battery power required on occasion to mulch through some significant amount of leaves, was simply too much for the 40 V battery.

The battery died, and I probably was about75-80% of the way done. I did recharge it, and when I went out a second time, the battery only lasted about 10 minutes.

The battery is now charging, and should be ready to go in the morning. The potential of running out of battery power was realized, but it doesn’t seem like that big a deal; a minor inconvenience at best.

In an ideal world it would be nice if batteries could be made that last longer, a topic I’ve also written about before.

Battery life became a big issue this past year with my iPhone. I was still carrying around an iPhone 5, and it’s battery life, with minimal use, was typically less than 8 hours, on a fully charged battery.

I kept putting off getting a new phone until I saw what Apple’s new phone would be like, as well as the new Pixel. Neither one impressed me enough to warrant the significant asking price, so I opted to get an iPhone 7 Plus. One of the main reasons I got the Plus model is because I heard that the bigger size allowed for a bigger battery. A bigger battery meant a longer life.

So far, the new phone has been great. I’ve never come close to running out of battery life, and when combined with my switch back to AT&T from T-Mobile, I now have a phone that has enabled me to make a call or access the web from anywhere I’ve been. For whatever reason, the same could not be said for T-Mobile. I’m not sure if it’s the phone or the new service that has offered me such a great customer experience; my guess is that it’s a little of both.

I think I would prefer it if Elon Musk just focused on making better batteries, of all types and sizes for all uses. I think such a breakthrough would have a bigger impact on society than his electric cars or SpaceX could have.

Just think of all the people around the world who rely on batteries for both business and pleasure. And if you could make everyone’s day just a little more productive and a little less exasperated, think of what the demand would be for such products.

I think I’ll wrap this post right here; the battery on my laptop is just about out of juice…

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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