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Memorial Day has come and gone, we've declared an armistice with planting season, and - thanks to the over-abundant rain - there is mowing to be done. And of course, every well-manicured lawn owner will be firing up the string trimmer. This is version 7 or 12 or something for me. It is the third electric trimmer I've had after a series of gas-powered models.
My success rate with those was poor. Between oil-gas mixing blunders, poor maintenance, and my overall hatred of 2 cycle engines my gas trimmers rarely fired up consistently during the season, let alone between seasons. The battery versions worked but were kinda wimpy.
This year there is an explosion of 40-volt competitors. I even saw one 80-volt brand in the box store. These more powerful versions perform as well as gas tools, at least for casual users like me. Thanks to ever improving lithium battery technology, electric versions of all kinds of tools that used to be handled by small engines are proliferating - and doing the job well.
The shift to renewable power depends in large part on the replacement of fossil fuel powered electrical generation. But the transition won't be just about electric cars and coal power plants, which is the hot debate. I think our use of fossil fuels will be altered just as much by tiny consumption pattern changes by millions of consumers like this string trimmer. Now if I add solar roof panels to feed a refrigerator-sized storage battery to recharge all my electric gadgets, the impact on my power bill becomes considerable.
The only sad part about this is all these batteries and rechargers are manufacturer-, and sometimes even model-specific designs. My collection of chargers and batteries is colorful and redundant. I know we're on a deregulating kick right now, but am I the only one who thinks establishing a standard for higher voltage batteries and chargers would be more efficient and far less expensive for consumers?
But as we found out with hydraulic hose connectors, don't hold your breath.
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