Honda remains a force in the UK lawn and garden marketplace, leaning on its global reputation for reliability and quality across a broad spread of products.
Much of Honda’s success is a factor of its expertise in engines, which are produced in greater volumes than by any other manufacturer globally; powering not just Hondas, but the products of other manufacturers that require a quality power source.
Having mastered in one propulsion technology, Honda is dedicated to developing equally capable, electrified energy solutions in the face of ever-increasing environmental, regulatory and consumer demands for cleaner products. Responding to these calls in 2012, Honda launched two battery-powered, robot lawnmowers and product development continued at pace. Come 2020, Honda offers no less than ten battery-powered products including pedestrian lawnmowers, handheld power tools and robot lawnmowers.
With more electrified products on the horizon, it’s important to understand Honda’s electrification journey. This in-turn demonstrates how Honda will continue to develop battery-powered products that can meet the high standards tradesmen and professional users have become accustom to with the brand.
Why Honda has gone electric?
Sales of cordless and robot lawnmowers accounted for 17.8% of powered lawnmower sales across Europe in 2017, rising to 25.4% in 2018. Further demonstrating the market shift from 2014 to 2018, sales of cordless garden and outdoor product increased by an average of 26.9% YoY, from 2014 to 2018. Resulting forecasts project 42% of the “Powered Lawn Mower” segment sales will be battey-powered (a combination of Cordless and Robot) by 2025.
Clearly, battery power is on the rise with robot lawnmowers being a key driver, as sales of them increased 25% YoY between 2014 and 2018. This trend has seen Honda build up its robot lawnmower range to five models under, which exist the Miimo nameplate.
It’s worth noting Honda’s electrification is brand wide. The motorcycle division already offers fully- and- part-electric scooters in Japan, while the car side is moving 100 per cent of its European car sales to electrified powertrains by 2025. The Power Products division, under which Lawn and Garden sits, is sharing the load in electrifying, too, with environmental regulations and conscious consumers effecting the change.
Honda’s commitment to developing environmentally friendly products reaches back to the 1950s when it was one of few companies pioneering the four-stroke engine. It promised cleaner exhaust emissions, less noise and lower fuel consumption; the same can be said of Honda’s new crop of electrified products which have moved the game on, again – no tail pipe emissions, quieter noise outputs and no fuel consumption. Not just more environmentally friendly, Honda’s cordless and robot products are more user-friendly too thanks to reduced noise pollution and there being no need to refill oil and petrol reserves, making them cheaper to run as well.
How has Honda gone electric?
Honda’s wave of cordless models has undergone the same strict testing regime as their petrol counterparts. As a result, buyers can be sure battery-powered products deliver the sustained, high performance and robust build quality and durability expected of Hondas. Furthermore, to make good on the perceived benefits of electric power, the cordless products must also be quiet and smooth; run at a lower cost to the user and environment while also offering class-leading features and technology.
Delivering battery-powered products to meet such high standards has seen Honda take a two-pronged approach:
- Apply best practise from petrol products
- Benchmark against our current petrol products or best-in-class competitors to ensure a premium design is realised
This approach was clear in the development of the izy-ON HRG 466 XB cordless lawnmower, for example. While its high-quality steel, powder coated deck and cutting blade are carried over wholesale from the equivalent IZY petrol model, it’s battery-and-motor system is all-new.
A 1.8Kwh brushless motor of a fanless design ensures current is directed to the blade as opposed to a power-sapping fan, which helps to reduce operating noise, too. Intelligent Hall-sensing technology governs performance to maintain the cutting blade RPM in various conditions. For example, under higher loads, encountered in taller grass, the motor will draw more energy from the battery to maintain a constant cutting speed, necessary for the best lawn finish.
The izy-ON’s batteries – 4Ah, 6Ah or 9Ah capacity – are designed to cope in variable conditions, too. The largest battery, likely the default choice of commercial users, is built for extreme continuous current requirements and can cover up to 730m² on one full charge, with a recharge time of 77 minutes. Each of the battery’s cell temperatures and voltage are monitored, while its unique battery-housing design and aluminium subframe lend it superior heat management capabilities over the smaller batteries. Designed with pro-users in mind, the 9Ah battery is fully waterproof, can withstand a 2m drop and integrates an LCD read-out that displays the charge level.
The 4Ah, 6Ah and 9Ah batteries makeup the power-supply element of Honda’s Universal Battery System. Each battery can be easily swapped between all of Honda’s cordless, handheld power tools and pedestrian lawnmowers, providing users with flexibility and practicality benefits.
What is Honda-electric now?
Honda’s range of battery-powered product extends to two pedestrian lawnmowers (izy-ON), three handheld power tools as well as five robot lawnmowers under the Miimo nameplate.
Honda’s reputation for garden equipment comes from its revered lawnmowers. Branching out from there, Honda has gone on to produce handheld petrol power tools, which are built to equally high standards by leveraging those engine-building credentials. Continuing to push the envelope, Honda has moved into the battery-powered space with three cordless handheld power tools – a brushcutter (HHT 36), leaf blower (HHB 36) and hedgetrimmer (HHH 36)– all which integrate the Universal Battery System.
An ergonomic-led design for the three tools means their inherit performance can be exploited over the course of working day, in comfort. The leaf blower’s nose-down balance and soft-grip touchpoints help operators to easily and accurately direct the airflow free of the battery, which is secured to the user with an adjustable belt. Similarly, the powerful cordless brushcutter comes with a harness, while the hedgetrimmer has a rotating rear handle accommodating natural movements as well as a swiss-made, hardened-steel blade.
Two derivatives of the izy-ON lawnmower are available: 41cm and 46cm cutting blades. The latter variant boasts on-off mulching and self-drive for comfortable, smooth and effortless operation.
Honda also offers five robotic lawnmowers in the Miimo family, with Small Miimo (HRM 40) and Small Miimo Live (HRM 40 Live) being the most junior members. Combining real time weather data with a grass growth algorithm (based on academic research), Small Miimo Live automatically generates the optimised cutting schedule to manage lawns up to 400m² in size. Better still, it’ll charge itself and respond to remote control via a smartphone application, in which schedule and status information can be found.
Also part of the Miimo family are the HRM 310 and HRM 520, which are designed to manage lawns up to 1500m² and 3000m², respectively. Both, like all Miimo models, cut little and often to produce clippings so fine they’re absorbed into the grass as fertiliser, so no collection is necessary.
Crowning the Miimo range is the HRM 3000. Individually, the robot lawnmower can tackle spaces up to 4000m², however the new Multi Miimo systems mean teams of HRM 3000s can be setup to tackle areas as large three football pitches combined.
Where is Honda going electric?
Honda will continue to diversify its portfolio of battery-powered products. Extensive research and investigation have already been carried out into every single petrol product Honda manufacturers to determine the viability of a battery-powered alternative.
As battery technology evolves, across all the divisions Honda is invested in, electrified power tools and lawnmowers will become more accessible and continue to develop in line with the market’s demands for quality and quantity.