New hybrid tractor @ Lowes

scotfree(6)March 1, 2013

Has anyone seen the new "tractor' available @ Lowe's? "Raven MPV-710"

Hybrid battery/electric/gas mower with an ATV frame, 46" deck and a built in 7100 watt generator (only at 120 volts though). 740 pounds. Front shocks. Electric drive motors. Electric mower deck. LED headlights. No belts or pulleys. Top speed when not mowing: 17 MPH (6 MPH when mowing). 70 minute run time on internal 48 volt battery. 12 or 13 HP horizontal OHV by "SATO". All the above gleaned from the manual and detailed inspection last night. Outside of the Lowe's website and some you tube videos I can find very little on line.

Anyone else seen this unit? Heard of the company? Reviews on the Lowe's website are over-the-top positive...

Love to hear the opinions from the Forum's users.

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It looks pretty darn cool. Seems to redefine the word "multi-tool". I wonder how things will play out...

Here is a link that might be useful: Video intro

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 1:30AM
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agreed - lotta curb appeal. will be interesting to see what becomes of it..

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 5:07AM
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The only advantage I can see is the lack of mower belts. However my JD was purchased in about 2000, and it has only had one mower belt replaced.

One other thing would be the ability to power electric appliances from the tractor. One would be an electric chain saw. I use my saw once or twice a year. I have an electric as it always starts when I pull it out of the shed. This tractor would give me that ability. There are several other electric item that could be easily used in the remote parts of the yard

Other than the above, It looks like it is too gimmicky to become a practical alternative to the standard gas powered lawn mower.

Yes I know the greenies are going to be all over me for using about 3/4 gallon of gas once a week, when I could be doing the same thing using electric motors and 1/2 gallon of gas per week

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 8:41AM
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It does have some appeal in its purported versatility. Like tomplum says, wait and see how well they hold up in use under "real world" conditions with actual owners at the helm.
I would like to point out that the "tug of war" depicted in the video I watched was humorous, but not actually an apples to apples kind of demonstration. There was a bit of trickery involved by strategically placing the hitching point for the rope a little higher up on the Raven than on the "Cub". Placing the hitch point higher on the Raven meant that the Raven was actually lifting the rear of the Cub a bit. That lifting action translates to a significant transfer of weight in 2 ways. Some weight transfers from the Raven front end to the Raven rear end, meaning more traction for the Raven. Also some weight is transferred FROM the Cub rear end to the Raven rear end, meaning LESS traction for the Cub and more for the Raven.
So all other aspects of the video I saw seem to be a fair presentation of product............but that tug of war should be completely ignored as nothing but filler material fluff.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 11:32AM
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Good call Mownie on the tug of war!

This is a fascinating concept, let's face it, the technology has been around for a long time, think of "diesel" train engines, the HUGE dump trucks used out west, all use a diesel engine to generate electricity which then powers an electric drive. There is a lot of savings by eliminating belts, not sure if it's the 40% mentiioned in the video at YouTube though.

Tried to google "SATO" and all I found was "SAITO" which makes gas engines for RC model airplanes, etc. Hope it's not the same.

The price point for this seems too low for the features and technology being offered, $2999.99 at the local Lowe's. Also, it kind of looks like my niece's go carts. Wonder if this was originally a ATV and someone decided to hang a deck under it?

12HP running a 46" deck? Maybe if the 40% increase in efficiency mentioned above is valid. In my experience, 12 HP riders usually run a 30-32" deck.

Anyway, totally fantastic concept, and Lowe's "usually" sells reasonable stuff. However, they are a "big box" store, not the best place to buy a quality machine.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 1:30PM
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larso1(So. CO Zone 5)

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the similarity to the GE Elec-Trac yard tractor. There was even an electric tiller attachment available... Of course, these were not hybrids and that is a pretty cool upgrade... Also see the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Electric

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 2:54PM
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Larso, great link on the GE machine.

There was also one which had rubber (I think) treads and the mower hung off the front like the walk behind gravely's. My Brother in Law had one and it was like a miniature dozer, steering switches instead of clutches. I don't know if GE made it or not. I seem to recall it was an Elec"Track", or I could be mistaken. He had it in the early 70's. He wanted to get the dozer blade for it, but my sister drew the line as it ate very expensive batteries. He was a ChemE so I think he knew how to care and maintain large batteries, but who knows?

Very interesting topic.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 5:20PM
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Thanks larso. This thread has at least dug up some childhood memories I have not visited in perhaps 50 years.
My dad NEVER owned a gas powered lawn mower until 1986 (when he bought a brand new Snapper RER, I still have it).
Dad used a 110 volt AC push mower to cut our roughly .25 acre lawn.
I remember him using a long extension cord and a "bulb to cord" adapter in the front porch light socket to do the front yard and a plug under the house to do the back yard.
I can also remember that my mom got ticked at dad one time because he and I went fishing instead of cutting the lawn (we had our priorities in order).
While we were gone, mom dragged out the mower and cord and proceeded to try cutting the lawn (you know, for spite).
She had never used the mower but thought she knew how.
From the looks of it, she made 2 passes before running over the extension cord and chopping it up.
She also blew a fuse in the house panel and that was something she admitted not knowing a thing about.
Needless to say I had to stay outside a while until they quit arguing inside.

This post was edited by mownie on Sun, Mar 3, 13 at 17:28

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 5:26PM
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Ok, so I am in Lowe's way too often...

Anyways, I am back to get 2 x 4's and what not and find myself looking at this again. I found some Chinese? labeling on the engine along with 420 cc OHV. Maybe the engine is a little more than 12 HP (traditional labeling is so much simpler to follow...) It does get quite a bit of attention at the local store. A fellow OPE junkie mentioned to me that there are heat sinks all over the mower (on top of the mower deck alone there were 2 and the blade motors had 1 each) The mower deck's motors (think spindles) are recessed into the deck and had about a 1/2" clearance from the sides of the 2 to 3 inch deep "well" they were set into. From what I know of computers (having blown a few up), dust, dirt and debris around such things traps heat and know what happens from there. SO much like an air compressor helps keep engines and hydro pumps clean to prevent heat build up, it has to be critical on something like this. Lowe's might want to sell folks an air compressor with every one.

Someone (Mownie?) mentioned the video tug-o-war. After seeing that I noticed in the store that it has two different places to drop a hitch pin in the back (lower and higher), but i think that 750 pounds the weight that it would bring to a pulling contest would make the difference. The modern lawn mowers weight would be 1/3 (?) or 1/4 (?) of that 700+ weight or an old school "tractor" from the 60s-70s. I know what they show in the "ad" is not a fair fight. But all is fair in love, war and advertising. It would, however, be interesting to see a pull of between tractors of similar weight. That might not sell electric mowers though... I suspect they will sell a few on looks alone. And a hybrid mower (to me) makes a hell of a lot more sense than a hybrid car given entry cost, pollution issues, and typical usage)

AND...they're offering parking lot test drives this weekend at the local store...guess who'll be first in line like a kid at the carnival? The Missus may be getting suspicious.

"My mom said the only reason men are alive is for lawn care and vehicle maintenance."

Tim "the Tool Man" Allen

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 8:52AM
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***" all is fair in love, war and advertising"***
And acknowledging that, it behooves one to be very watchful for advertising "sleight of hand".

My wife says I rate having my own private parking space at Lowe's because of my frequent trips there.
So I'll have to look and see if one of these birds has landed here yet.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:56AM
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whut lowes do ya frequent, mownie? I jest won meself an neat minicam and I smell a viral video somewhere in the middle of all this... :)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 12:37PM
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heh heh! Hendersonville, Tn.
I'm afraid to ask what your "subject of interest" is.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 1:00PM
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welll... first off, it's most unusual to see one of them BBS's doing L&G power equipment demos of any kind. That might make for a video all by itself.
But to have the Grand Master hisself tooling about on one of the latest newfangled products to hit the hardware heaven showroom floors in some time might jest set off a whole bunch of cacklin on this and other similar forums...
anyhow, think I'll ck out details on the cumberland down thet way... might be jest the best back door in. and out.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 5:05PM
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So.....what is the price on this thing? My nearest Lowes is over an hour away, and they won't give pricing at (says it's no longer available on the site). Btw, there are mixed reviews at the website.

Biggest advantages I see to this machine are
1) eliminates the transmission, which seems to be the weak link in most 2) portable power for my electric tools
3) backup generator for my backup generator if we lose power for a few days

It's refreshing to see that it is recommended for hilly areas whereas most lawn tractors really shy away from that recommendation. I see a machine like this as being ideal for a 1- to 5-acre spread, where speed/power of a dedicated four-wheeler is not needed.

The concept is fantastic, but I will probably wait until they get the bugs worked out.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 8:19AM
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Hi Folks,

Visited the local Lowe's and had to check this thing out. I had called ahead to make sure they had one. Yes, they did, but they couldn't sell any right now as they were under a "Quality Hold" due to a minor issue with the switch under the seat. Asked if I could at least look at it and was assured I could look, but couldn't buy.

Arriving there, went to L&G and found the guy I spoke to, he took me back to the "hold" area which happened to be outside and it was raining. The hybrid was under a piece of plastic.

Went there with a "preattitude" that I wouldn't like it. Boy, did that change! This thing is BIG, built like a tank, sort of, large rear tires, engine is rear mounted which means good traction. The motors on the deck are bigger than I expected, think of the motors on a shallow well pump. The "quick disconnect" plug for the deck was about 3-4" across and 1-1.5" high, large gauge wiring. Biggest step through operator's area I've ever seen, tilt steering wheel, just in weight alone or by price per pound it's worth a lot more than the JD's and Husqy's they had on the floor.

Didn't get to do as detailed an inspectioin as I would have liked, it was raining and the guy couldn't leave a non lowe's person in a QA hold area. Looked underneath, welds running all over the place, has to cost a fortune to build. The engine is is 12-12.5HP, SINGLE cylinder, very accessible for servicing. Gas tank is up front where you'd expect an engne to be.

When I watched the video, I was very suspicioius of the font suspension, shock absorber surrounded by a coil spring. Bouncing front end when you're trying to cut grass???`' I couldn't bounce the front end by pushing down on it, also stepped on the front of the operators area and tried bouncing up and down, Nope, didn't happen and I weigh 210.

I mentioned to the guy that I was impressed, but thought the price point was too low? He agreed, and said "DON"T QUOTE ME" so I'm not quoting, this is "hearsay." When we got the preliminary info on this they were talking about $4,000-4200. At the Chillicothe Ohio Lowe's it's $2999.99.

Oh, the QA hold, he flipped up the seat to show me the offending switch. WOW! Think of the latch on a normal double hung window, now make it about 6" long with a spring return, which, when depressed operates the switch.

As I said, would like to have spent more time looking at it, would have really loved to see it in operation.

Here comes the scary part: Two year factory warranty, but you have to haul it back to Lowe's or a factory service center if closer. However..... For $329 you get 4 years AT HOME warranty, everything is covered except "maintenance" items, plugs, filters, etc. If you choose to have them do the routine service you just pay for parts at a 25% discount.

"If it's too good to be true, it isn't!" Kind of lived my life by that motto, however, something is too good or just wrong with this machine that I didn't see?

No, I'm not buying one, have a barn full of toys, besides, a divorce and medical bills would cost more that $3K. :-) However, my "baby brother" is thinking about it. If he gets it, guess whose barn it will spend more time in? that's what little brothers are for right? He's 59.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 3:47PM
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larso1(So. CO Zone 5)

Thanks for the first impression review exmar. Wow, this thing sounds like the "Swiss Army Knife" of garden tractors. It all sounds good, but the problem with radical changes to mainstream designs, like the classic garden tractor in this instance, is that it can be too big of a sudden change for the average buyer. And if that happens, these kind of new ideas just seem to go away until acceptance finally occurs later on for various reasons. Just sayin', the company that builds/markets this "tractor" could really use a product promoter like Steve Jobs for instance.

I would really like to see this concept catch on and move ahead, and the sky's the limit for additional electrical on-board capabilities... Anyway, that's my opinion. But, I do like it.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 7:48PM
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Larso, excellent points, as an engineer (retired) myself I can remember some of my own and other's designs that should have.... but didn't.

Just realized that since this is a generator, it must start and "steady state" at WOT and the "gas petal" I saw yesterday was for controlling power to the drive train, not RPM of the engine.

It's deceptive, it looks like a tractor, you see a gas petal,but it ain't. Wish I'd had more time.

Really curious to see how this plays out.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:17AM
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"If it's too good to be true...."

Have a friend who's replacing a rider this spring and was going to send him the link to this on the Lowe's webite but couldn't find it?

Called the Lowe's I visited and they said these units are in a factory recall to fix the switch issue and even the one I looked at yesterday has been packed up for return. Due to this, they have been "withdrawn" from the website, showrooms, etc. They have been told they will be returned but don't have a date.

Read on another website that these are manufactured in N.C. with "imported" parts and the engine is from a sister company to Honda. Hope they get it together.

Well, at least I got to "kick the tires."


    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 11:36AM
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The engine might be "RATO", not "SATO". There is a Chinese engine mfr. by the name of RATO.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 2:56PM
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I called them and they said they had a wiring issue with one mower at one Lowes store.
They are going to check all mowers in the supply chain before selling any. They thought they would be selling them again by Sat.

The steel mower deck for the Raven and the blades are made in USA in Fountain Inn SC.
Just down the road from me. This is very cool. I called a talked to them. The guy had been to the plant in NC a few times and was impressed with the Raven. He said he was buying a Raven for himself. He said it was a great product.

Another guy said the plastic panels were made in the US at a plant he worked in.

RATO motors makes the motor they make generators and ATV’s. They make Powermate generator motors. These are sold at home depot and other places.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 7:08PM
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I went to the Lowes store the other day and checked it out. I thought it looked like it was well built. I was impressed with it and I can’t wait to put it through its paces. We will pull a 60” trail behind mower with it.
I ordered one and they say I should be in 3/25 or sooner.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 7:14PM
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not sure I would buy this critter on its maiden/shake down voyage, let it shake down on someone elses watch. I wonder how long it takes to recharge the Batt?? With only 70 min of run time I wuldn't get much done.. It's not unusual for me to use up 2 tankfulls on my JD at a sitting. Maybe hooking up another batt in series would help out?? Or 2 or 3 in a cart towed behind with jumper cables to the #1 batt?? I also have a 3gal pump up sprayer strapped to the back of the seat. This time of year I dont have to mow but I do spray the Henbit weeds that come out now. Persistant things too. Love cool weather show up in Dec. cause considerable itching if you touch them too.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 7:40PM
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I wonder what the service life of the hybrid batteries is and what it would cost to replace them? As with any hybrid, the unit is only as good as the battery technology.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 8:09PM
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I also wonder how long the 48 batteries will last. They are 4 batteries in series but you have to run the motor to mow so they should not discharge as much as a normal battery.
I called and asked the cost of the 48v battery pack they are not for sale yet. They said $100 or under if that is true I would be happy with that if you get good life out of them.
It will be nice to have a generator that I know will run when I need it and have fresh gas in it.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 8:35PM
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Finally someone posted some actual video of one mowing.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:50PM
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RadioSam(7B) has been quite a while since there have been any more comments/reviews on this new Hybrid. on my last couple of visits to the local Lowes, I didn't see any "Ravens" on the outside front display or on the floor.

I wonder how the current owners are liking their new "toy"?

Sam in Culpeper, Virginia

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 2:05PM
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I have never seen one, but from the videos it looks like they are having problems. such as starting and battery life.

However in all the videos that I looked at I did not see any doing serious mowing. By serious I mean mowing grass that is 6 or greater inches tall. Based on the one video where the man was having trouble cutting close with his relatively manicured yard I wonder if the Raven could handle grass that high.

Yes I know we all want to keep our yards cut at 2 to 4 inches, but there is always the one time when you are on vacation, and there is great grass growing weather and it grows like there is no tomorrow..

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 3:05PM
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