Long Term Ownership Costs?

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I'm interested in purchasing a Ego mower initially but I have reservations about long term 5+ year parts costs and the ability to keep the mower running cost effectively.

1.Has any thought been given to a EGO battery trade-in program, where you could trade-in your dead or dying EGO batteries down the road in order to get a reasonably priced replacement? I'm specifically referring to outside the 3 year warranty period. 
2. Is there any estimate for how long the brushed motor (in the mower) will be "maintenance free" as far as not needing the brushes, bearings, etc replaced? Is sending the mower to a service center the only option or will parts be available for us who are pretty handy ourselves?

If I made the purchase, I'd want to keep the mower running for years and years, so these long term questions are important to me. I know that many in the community will likely be eager to reply with info about the cost savings of electricity vs. gas, etc. , Thank you but I've already read that info and am only looking for information related to very long term running costs related to keeping the mower itself usable as reasonably as possible..

Thank you,

Joseph
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Joseph Metler

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Posted 2 years ago

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Blue Angel, Champion

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Official Response
Joseph, I can offer a little insight.

1. Great idea and maybe something they would consider for the future, but as of right now there's nothing in place to trade in used batteries.

2. Although brush wear is a motor by motor thing, I can say that I sold my corded electric Black & Decker mower to my neighbor when I got the Ego mower. That B&D was ten years old and it was still going with the original brushes.

Though nothing has been put in place yet, we're all hoping a replacement part program will exist by 2019, which is when the first Ego tools will be out of warranty.

Hope that helps.
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Egocentric

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Joseph, I had many of the same concerns, and sort of arrived at the conclusion that I am not going to be able to get a good answer to that question.  I decided that the immediate convenience of the battery system was worth the risk.  I hope that doesn't come back to bite me.  Ego's 5 year warranty on the product helped a little bit.  The other thing is that persuaded me is that, its a lawnmower, not a car.  If the thing goes completely up in smoke, its not going to be financial ruin.  

Basically, for me, I have become so disgusted with gas mowers that the convenience was worth the risk.  Not a very satisfying answer to your question, but it was my motivation.   
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Michael G

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Joseph - I'm thinking something has to happen with the battery costs once the 3-year warranty period vanishes. Speaking from the power tool end of Li-Ion batteries, the high cost of replacement batteries created a new industry - battery re-builders. This caused the OEM new battery prices to drop somewhat. If EGO chooses not to bring the battery prices in line sales could be lost to re-builders.

Mike
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Egocentric

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Hmmm!  Interesting observation on the glut of blowers on Ebay.  Just blowers, you say, no string trimmers...which use the smaller batteries.  Ha!  

Joseph, I have to agree with you, this is less than an ideal situation.  I haven't looked into any other manufacturer's policies.  If you do go with a competitor and find a better battery policy, come back and post it, so that we can all storm Ego's castle walls with our pitchforks and blowers.   
(Edited)
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Joseph/Michael, the other thing to keep in mind is the constant decline in lithium battery prices. As new competition comes to market they will do so with that day's market price backing up their business model, making them more competitive.

Ego's battery prices have not dropped since 2014, yet the cost of lithium batteries does drop at about 3-4X the rate of inflation every year. At some point the cost per Ah will have to come down at the retail level for them to stay competitive.
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Egocentric

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Blue, let us hope! 
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Ego is a premium brand and their batteries are designed better than any others I've seen, but they still need to be priced competitive enough as to not discourage potential customers...

When the battery replacement cost is more than 2/3 the cost of the kit it came in, we have a problem. In the case of the 15Ah snowblower kit, the cost of the replacement batteries is EQUIVALENT to the cost of the kit! How does that make any sense?
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szwoopp, Champion

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I'm not chearleading, just honestly asking for an explanation
Ego 5Ah 56v = $245
Greenworks 5Ah 60v = $199

Ego 7.5Ah 56v = $398
Greenworks 5Ah 80v = $359 (special price - formerly $399)

Greenworks 2 year warranty - Ego 3 year
Does the higher volts effect the battery value ?

Just curious about the overpriced battery conclusion v we expect a discount when we buy a kit.
Would like a little explanation of the why when making these statements.  I am all for lower prices, just like to understand the products and some of you guys are more than qualified to give me a little battery pricing 101.
 
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Joseph Metler

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You increase the voltage by adding more cells. At least with hobby stuff, LiPo cells are 3.7 volts each, so to get say 44 volts, you'd need 12 cells. That's the general idea for getting 80 volts vs. 56. Generally, because of manufacturing costs, it's cheaper to build fewer bigger cells than more smaller cells, so voltage (in general) would cost more since more cells are required. 

There's also the value/price of cell or battery component prices. Generally, you'll get higher performance with higher quality electrodes, wiring and electrolyte. 

Unfortunately, none of this speaks to the price difference of certain tool EGO prices ala carte vs. buying them as a combination tool, battery, charger. It seems to be more sales and marketing vs. engineering driven decision.

The battery and motor for an electric power tool are roughly equivalent to a gas engine for a lawn mower. Baring the super cheap stuff, any mower with a major brand engine will have parts available for decades, if not more and that's without the need to toss the whole engine and replace it for a new one. Ego really needs to address the high battery prices if they're going to convince more people to give up their MUCH cheaper to repair gas mowers.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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szwoopp:

2.5Ah $150 = $60.00/Ah
5Ah $245 = $49.00/Ah
7.5Ah $398 = $53.00/Ah

Going from the 2.5 to the 5 doubles the capacity and sees a 22% drop in price per Ah. If the jump from 5 to 7.5 (50%) had the same proportional drop of 11%, we would see the price set at $44/Ah, or about $330.

It should be clarified that when I say Ego's batteries are overpriced, my main issue is with the 7.5Ah. Also, just because someone else is overcharging doesn't mean Ego/HD aren't. ;-)

Also noteworthy is how the 5Ah battery is $49/Ah and the two year older 4Ah battery was $50/Ah... pretty much the same, and the cost/capacity of bulk lithium batteries drops significantly year over year by about 7%.

In my opinion, when two or three years goes by Ego should be introducing today's new higher capacity battery at the same price as yesterday's model. If they don't do that, some competitive product line will launch with ordinary margins based on the reality of the day and significantly undercut them.

Refusing to keep your prices competitive and based on your costs will price you out of the market. Cars are no more expensive than they were ten years ago despite offering far better equipment/performance/specs, same goes for cellphones and lots of other products.

Ego's batteries are getting more expensive, not less or even staying the same. Gotta be aggressive if you want to stay ahead... specs and reviews only get you so far, and as we've seen here there are customers looking at costs down the road that include replacement batteries. :-)
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szwoopp, Champion

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Thanks Blue
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Any time! :-)
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(a)Typical Engineer

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When I had my gen 1 20" mower apart of the motor repair, I measured the brush length.  I do not know what the original length is, but the THREE YEARS of use didn't seem excessive.  Also the commutator (the contact that the brushes contact) did not look excessively worn either.  My conclusion is that the battery system will fail long before the brushes and motor windings give out.  No data on the sealed bearings, but those usually last a good long while; and if the fail before five years, they are covered by the warranty.

https://community.egopowerplus.com/ego/topics/20-mower-field-repair-of-the-motor


(Edited)
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Cldlhd

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I don't think you can really make an economic case for a battery powered mower at this point. For the cost of one $500 EGO you could purchase 2 gas mowers and get about 15 yrs out of each with decent maintenance. It's more of a want. You have to decide if the lighter weight, less maintenance hassles , less noise etc are worth it,
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Joseph, even if you needed a new battery every 5-10 years my argument still stands; the $400 7.5Ah would add $40-$80/yr. to ownership costs. For someone with a large enough yard who actually needs the run time of the 7.5, much of that cost would be used up in gasoline.

The 5Ah would add $22.50-$45/yr. In the grand scheme of things these costs are puny. Switching from a large coffee to a medium in the morning would have a much greater impact on one's finances. ;-)
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Cldlhd

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I wouldn't argue that the cost will have an impact on ones finances, I spend about $40 or so a week on happy hour, I'm just saying that it is more expensive than a gas mower even if the battery doesn't need replacing. At least given the current cost of gas and the fact that my yard is between 1/4 and 1/3 an acre. I have no problem with the idea of paying a bit more for convenience, easier storage, less maintenance,less air and noise pollution etc.. However I don't feel the smartphone analogy holds up entirely. People use their smartphones everyday throughout the day, they're portable and most are pretty beat up after 2 years. I use my mower once a week for about 45 minutes and for 1/3 of the year. Also phones see pretty significant jumps technologically over 2 years compared to a lawn mower. One is used to communicate, play games, entertain, read books ,give directions and the other is a tool to get a job done.
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All valid points, no doubt. I was just tossing some perspective in for good measure. :-)
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Cldlhd

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I know, I like the back and forth. The only other thing I have a little concern about is future repairs. If my mower needs a part there are plenty of places both local and online where I can get them pretty quickly and from what I read the warranty work through Home Depot can be a bit exasperating. Also as said earlier EGO should come out with a more advanced model for the same price or make it cheaper. I hope this happens but I'm not going to lie if I pay $500 for a mower and a year later a substantially improved model comes out for the same or less it will be somewhat irritating. Unlike a car you can't trade it in.
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Agreed on the repairs. Hopefully Ego will have a replacement parts program in place before 2019 when the tools start coming out of warranty.

A more advanced model making your mower obsolete? That's smartphone talk! :-D
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Joseph Metler

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I decided that the parts costs for the EGO mower were simply too high to make it attractive over the long haul. Perhaps if the batteries were reasonable it would of been a different story but other parts were also much more expensive than a typical gas mower as well. Personally, I don't really care about the noise or the weight of a gas mower. I'll concede that having gas on hand and storing it can be a hassle though!
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Cldlhd

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That's why I own a car and not a truck. When I needed to get sheetrock last weekend I rented the Home Depot truck for $20. I'm not saying it's a bad purchase decision overall it's just that from a money perspective it doesn't make sense, regardless of how much cheaper it is per cut. I'm sure a lot of people who love them might feel different if their battery dies shortly out of warranty and the cost is still where it's at. I'll probably get one for my mower but I do feel people often aren't objective about a semi expensive purchase they make , they like reinforcement that they made the right decision.