Stihl Showcases Mowers, Blowers and More at Ride & Drive Event

Stihl showed off brand-new gas- and battery-powered products and discussed programs available to contractors considering switching to battery/electric.

Stihl Ride+drive Event Group

Stihl welcomed members of the media to its headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia, for a factory tour and ride and drive product demo event on March 26. 

The campus

Stihl's corporate campus covers 1.6 million square feet (150 acres), boasts 2,800 employees and produces more than 4 million units per year. 

Attendees had the chance to tour the following areas of the campus: crankshaft/pistons machining; polymers process; 1148 Series assembly; trimmer line process; and battery tool manufacturing.

STIHL Ride+Drive Event1

Founded in 1926, Stihl at first specialized in chainsaws, but has since expanded into other equipment, including gasoline-powered grass and weed trimmers, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, bed redefiners, edgers, extended-reach hedge trimmers, pole pruners, brushcutters, earth augers, wood boring drills, monofilament trimmer line, and chainsaw guide bars. Vertically integrated, the company is represented in 160 countries across five continents. 

The demo

Attendees of the event demoed the company's recently released (or soon-to-be-released) professional landscaper equipment, including:

  • RZA 760: Brand-new to Stihl’s wheeled goods line, the RZA 760 is the first Stihl battery-powered zero-turn mower. It features fewer moving parts than its gas counterparts, and therefore, less maintenance. A fully charged battery allows for up to eight hours of run time, allowing the user to mow up to 21 acres.
  • RZ 560 K: A professional zero-turn mower, the RZ 560 K features a 60-inch mowing deck, a two-belt pulley system for less maintenance and two USB-A ports to charge devices.
  • RZ 960i K: The RZ 960i features a 60-inch mowing deck, high-quality suspension system and heavy-duty materials.
  • RM 756 YC: The highest level of push mower in the Stihl wheeled goods category, the RM 756 YC is geared toward professionals, offering power, performance and longevity.

RZA 760RZA 760Green Industry Pros Staff

  • RMA 765 V: The RM 765 is a power battery-powered push mower.
  • BGA 300.1/ADA 10000: A powerful professional backpack blower, the BGA 300.1 features noise reduction and 192 MPH air speeds.
  • ADA 10000: This tool will allow pros to use multiple AP batteries to power the BGA, as opposed to the typical AR 3000 L backpack battery.
  • HTA 160: A battery-powered, professional pole pruner, the HTA 160 allows users to reach up to 13 feet, 3 inches and is part of the AP system. It runs off of professional batteries only.
  • KMA 200 R: The KMA 200 R will be a new addition to the Kombisystem lineup that allows users to utilize 14 different attachments to help conquer almost any task. 

Product trends

When it comes to gas versus battery power, Mike Poluka, product manager at Stihl, said Stihl will continue to manufacture products for both sectors.

“There’s a mixture, and a lot of landscape businesses approach it differently, but we still manufacture gas, and we’re going to support gas as long as we can to serve all different customer needs,” Poluka said. “We want to raise awareness that we have programs in place to help landscapers switch (from gas to battery power) if they’re interested." 

If a landscape pro is interested in making the switch, Product Manager Paul Beblowski suggests they do their homework. 

"Choose the right tool and know exactly how much you're going to use it," Beblowski said. "For example, the BGA 300 is very similar to our BR 430, so that gives our end users an idea of how much they're going to need to be able to work. On top of that, have a conversation with your dealer about the appropriate charger setup. Our dealers have access to a charging calculator that can unlock and provide a good report for what the end user needs to have in order to be able to work through the day." 

For those landscape professionals who have already made the switch, Beblowski said that regulations have played a significant role. 

"If they're regulated, they're moving to battery, and beyond that, a lot of it has to do with their customer base if they're working in noise-sensitive areas such as universities," Beblowski said. "I see a lot of end users transitioning on hedge trimmers or pull pruners followed by chainsaws."