Solaris, Epic, Utopia Lawn Mower – One Year Later

By far, the article which has received the most comments from you has been our review earlier this year of the changes made to the Solaris, Epic and Utopia solar charged lawn mower from Linamar Consumer Product.

With that much interest I thought I would write today about our experience mowing our lawn for the first time this year.

Why?

Well, yesterday I used for the first time our 2008 version of this energy conservation product.

Any time a new product comes to market one of the risks is that it does not have a track record. So, I thought you might be interest in how we made out.

Now, as I tell my students, my wife’s husband can be lazy (think about it for a minute).  I have neither the time nor patience to deal with special handling of items we use in and around our house.

So, over the winter I left our 2008 Epic (just like the Solaris and Utopia models except for minor cosmetic changes) solar charged lawn mower in our outdoor garden shed.  I did nothing special to take care of it. In fact, I totally ignored it.

The only thing I did was to bring the batteries inside so they would not freeze.

So, how did it go?

Did the batteries work? Yes. I did not use the solar charging station as I don’t want to risk or have to deal with the temperature going below freezing at night which is still does around here this time of the year.

solaris batteries charging Solaris, Epic, Utopia Lawn Mower   One Year Later

Rather, I charged the batteries in the docking station plugged into our standard electrical outlet in my basement workroom, as shown in the picture above. If you look closely you can see the green light on the charging component on the floor in the lower right of the above picture indicating they are fully charged.

It took around 10 hours to charge them from being completely uncharged over the winter. In other words, I did not leave the docking station plugged into the wall over the winter. That would be a waste of electricity. I simply plugged the docking station into the outlet this past weekend in anticipation of mowing the lawn yesterday.

Did the mower start, the first time? Yes. In fact, it started the same way it did all of last year; that being it started the first and every time I depressed the handle followed by the starter switch. I did this around 5 times throughout the mowing of our lawn as I moved the mower from the back yard to the side to the front back to the side and back again.

epic mower Solaris, Epic, Utopia Lawn Mower   One Year Later

Did the mower continue to have as low an operating volume as it did last year? Yes. The brushless electric motor was just as quite as it was last year, which is less noisy than any previous electric corded lawn mower we have ever used. Looking at the above picture and I see that I really need to clean the lawn mower, don’t I? 

epic mower 2008 Solaris, Epic, Utopia Lawn Mower   One Year Later

Did the audio beeps warning me when the batteries were in place in the docking station on the mower occur as before? Absolutely. This feature, which goes off approximately 10 seconds or so once the batteries are in place if the mower is not running reminds you not to waste the batteries. I like this feature as it also reminds me not to forget them inside the mower should I put it away in in the shed but not remove the batteries, which I did once or twice last year until I heard the beeps. Remember, the batteries should always be in the solar or old fashioned charging station when not being used in the mower.

Yes, the picture above was taken after I had mowed that part of the backyard lawn. Compare it to two pictures above to get an idea how thick the lawn was when I mowed it for the first time this year.

Now for the big question.

Did the batteries last the entire mowing of the front, side and backyard lawns? Yes. The entire mowing took approximately 45 minutes. I used the self-propelled feature on the even and up hill parts of the lawn and did not use in on the downhill portions, which is the same approach I took last year. And remember, we use the mulching blade which uses more ‘juice’ from the batteries than the standard non-mulching blade per the Linamar Consumer Products customer support folks indicated to me last year.

So, after one year using no special care or maintenance, the now one year old electric lawn mower sold under the Solaris, Epic and Utopia brand names worked as well as it did all of last year.

Sweet!

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Comments

  1. Jim Curtis says:

    I am considering buying one of the new self propelled solaris 21″…does it really work well and hold up.What about battery life.Jim

  2. Dan says:

    Hi Jim,

    From a motor standpoint, a brushless moter, from what I understand, is supposed to last much lonter than a brush type of electric motor and require much less maintenace.

    As far at the battery charge, check out the many comments in our other article on this topic for 2009. You can find the link in our most commented articles section.

    Am I pleased with our 2008 model? Yes.

    Dan

  3. Richard says:

    It is not recommended to store SLA (sealed lead acid) batteries in a discharged state. This is a sure way to shorten their lifespan. Rather, they should be kept inside and charge up at least one a month.

  4. Dan says:

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for the comments.

    I like the ‘at least once a month’ suggestion. It’s a nice compromise between wasting electricity and retainiing the lifespan of the batteries.

    Dan

  5. bailey says:

    is the epic the best electric model for 2010? (for a level lot size .17 acres)

  6. Dan says:

    Hi Bailey,

    What I like about it vs other electric mowers is the brushless motor. As far as I know the Solaris, Epic and Utopia brands are the only ones with this type of motor (but if I’m wrong, someone please correct with) which is very quiet, needs no maintenance and is sufficiently powerful to have the self-propelled feature for a cordless electric mower.

    I also like the optional solar charging station which, while not saving money in the long run, helps in not consuming any electricity generated by coal burning power plants.

    That’s my perspective. I hope it helps,
    Dan

  7. bailey says:

    I was just on the Linamar site and am reading about the brushless motor now. I should have thought to ask this too – which is best for a level yard – FWD or RWD?

  8. bailey says:

    Do you know anything about the Neuton CE6? They have a 6 month trial offer that sounds great but no self-propelled option.

  9. Dan says:

    Hi Bailey,

    My preference is the front wheel drive version; I have had both and my current rear wheel drive version sees the wheels spinning slightly at the start. However, it is a personal preference I think.

    Yes, I find the brushless motor more quiet than other electric (and most certainly gas) powered lawn mowers I or my neighbours have used in the past.

    As far as the Neutron, I have not used it; however I beleive it has a plastic body vs steel body (my preference)of the Solaris / Epic / Utopia. As well I do not see any optional solar charging station for those more environmentally enclines. Lastly, yes, it does not have the self propelled option which is truly great.

    I hope that helps,
    Dan

  10. Jack Wootliff says:

    The batteries were poor in the first year, and barely coped with my lawn.
    This second year their lasting power was worse,and was only able to cope with less than half the moderately thick lawn.

    A response as to how one can deal with this frustaing situation – would be appreciated.
    Buying 2 more batteries is somewhat expensive !

  11. Dan says:

    Hi Jack,

    I would suggest going right back to the manufacturer, Linamar Consumer Products, either via their web site or the toll free phone number which is on their web site.

    Dan

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