Toro eTriFlex 3370
The future is electric
Goodwood was the perfect venue to put the long-awaited new electric Toro eTriFlex 3370 greensmower through its paces. With two distinctive championship courses, the mower had a fair go on the two different terrains - the members' Downs Course is a big, hilly, sweeping, downland course while the Park Course is half the size of the Downs Course, flatter and parkland.
Electric mowers are a no brainer when it comes to the conservation of the planet and there’s no debating that the near future is electric, eventually everything will be silent. So, as I sat on the eTriFlex for the first time and switched on the power, I felt anticipation and expectation, this was after all a sign of things to come. And yet, while you expect the silence, it’s eerie none-the-less when the power is on and the machine is ready to move and there is simply no sound!
As I approached a bunker early on the first green, in it were a couple of the guys, one on an electric strimmer, the other on an electric blower. It was a surreal moment and presented a glimpse of what the future will be like in reality, we were chatting while we worked with no ear defenders on, we could hear the wildlife and members around us.
While its silence is undoubtedly one of its biggest benefits, it was also the biggest thing for us all to get used to. Is it on/isn’t on? Will it move/won’t it move? This was going against the grain of over 35 years’ experience! But let me tell you on behalf of the whole team here at Goodwood, while it might take some getting used to, by the time you’ve cut your first set of greens you will be categorically in love with the eTriFlex 3370.
It's the quietness which pips the top spot, but it is a hard call between that and having no hydraulics. The quietness is the big bonus. You don’t have to stop for golfers, which means our time to cut the greens was reduced. And it definitely improves the working day, no ear defenders, chats with the team while working, hearing the wildlife, just generally less disturbance and noise pollution is priceless.
What really made a difference were the tool-free QuickChange cutting units. The team reported back that these were much easier than the petrol/diesel equivalent machines, preferred because there were no spanners needed to change them over and they’re fitted with quick release clips for easy access. Also winning favour were the new sealed bearings on the cutting units. All the old grease points have been eliminated making life a lot easier, saving time and mess.
The most enjoyed and valued feature of all which the whole team agreed on, was not having the smelly and grimy fuel process that comes with a petrol/diesel machine. Everything is cleaner, it really makes the difference. Training is required to learn about the electric system as you’d expect, but I think it's a positive, it’s another good thing for career development. Really, there were no negatives at all after having used the machine for two weeks.
It is significantly more expensive, there is no denying that, but before you discount it on its purchase price, there is a bigger picture to consider. Imagine the fuel costs for the duration of the machine's life and add that on to the cost of its petrol/diesel counterpart. Then add on the workshop costs associated with a hydraulics system, the engine oil top ups, the time all these maintenance jobs take someone to do and the cost is probably not as much of a jump as you think.
PUT TO THE TEST
The cut is the same as with any other Toro in that it's exceptional. We noticed a definite improvement even in the two weeks we had the machine and I’m confident that would have continued if we’d had it longer. It is an extremely comfortable machine to operate – the floating seat has lots of settings for easy adjustment to each operator’s requirements.
In terms of getting the machine ready for use, starting and stopping couldn’t be easier. The only thing for the operator to check is the battery level – that it’s not still connected to the wall! All the old checking levels of water, engine oil, fuel and hydraulics have been dispensed with.
Once on the move, the controls are even easier than those on the petrol or diesel machines. The on/off cutting ‘switch’ was far more operator friendly than the old system of cutting or transport levers. The machine knew when you were cutting and adjusted speeds automatically.
There seemed better torque in the engine. It seemed to ‘pull’ on slopes far better than its fossil fuel equivalent and maintained constant forward speed regardless of terrain. In fact, transport speed is another big positive and one of the team’s favourite features, it was very good. The parking brake also locks automatically when you jump off to put the flag in/out which is a huge advantage.
The two major benefits as mentioned at the beginning come from the eTriFlex 3370 having an electric power supply. And this really is the overriding umbrella benefit. It absolutely reassures me that the future of the industry is going in the right direction. It will undoubtedly be a gradual process but it’s a given our world will become a far quieter place to work, lead capably by Toro.
"Having no hydraulics is fantastic. We’ve reduced hydraulic leaks by having our mechanics constantly changing hoses, but for a smaller club that might not be possible. However, with the eTriFlex, there's no more risk of leaks."
James de Havilland
AN INDUSTRY FIRST
No more damaging hydraulic leaks, no more emissions, no more pollution, the eTriFlex 3370 delivers the future to the fine turf sector. As the industry’s first lithium-ion battery powered ride-on greensmower and Toro’s quietest ride-on greensmower yet, work can start earlier while complying with noise regulations, increasing the potential to enhance revenue by allowing for earlier tee times.
In summaryIt’s a brand-new Toro ride-on greensmower with some stonking new features, just as you’d expect from Toro, as well as features confirming Toro’s status as an industry-leader. And it’s important to mention these because being powered by an electric source does absolutely nothing to affect the innovative features and benefits any new Toro launch would bring. Except this new machine is like no other. No hydraulic fluids and no noise. Two things that until you’ve experienced them, it’s hard to put into words the improvements they bring to the working day for everyone – not just the greenkeepers, but the mechanics and workshop staff too.