Photo credit: Asurnipal licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Quieter boats, snowmobiles, and lawnmowers are coming, reports The New York Times. The TImes headline, at least in the online version, calls it the Tesla effect, but it is really the effect of both technology and regulation. The technological advances in lithium ion batteries allow more powerful electric equipment with longer run times. The regulatory effect is exemplified by regulations in California banning the sale of new 2-stroke gasoline powered engines starting in 2024.

But there is also increasing customer demand for quieter machines, especially for yard care. It isn’t just the quiet that’s a benefit. Homeowners appreciate not mixing gasoline and oil, not storing gasoline in the garage, and the ease and convenience of starting the machine with the push of a button rather than straining to pull a starter cord. One of the main barriers to electric vehicle purchase–concerns about running out of power and getting stranded, called “range anxiety”–obviously isn’t a concern if all one has to do when mowing the lawn with a battery-powered mower is recharge the battery while taking a rest.

Economics and environmental concerns also play a role. The New York Times reports that Taos Ski Valley resort in New Mexico, which markets itself as an environmentally friendly resort, will use electric snowmobiles. The higher initial costs of electric snowmobiles will be offset in the long run by much cheaper maintenance costs. Electric engines are also extremely reliable, requiring almost no maintenance. Electric motors were perfected in the early twentieth century and can run for years without problem.

While The Quiet Coalition focuses on noise, we are also concerned about the environment. Quieter battery-powered snowmobiles, yard maintenance equipment, and eventually outboard boat motors will reduce both noise pollution and air pollution.

A quieter and cleaner world will be a better place for all.