The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing 100 small-engine, utility vehicle and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers, announced Jan. 6 that it is ramping up its regulatory, standards, and market reporting and statistics efforts to meet the unique needs of the corded electric and battery product segments.
In recent months, OPEI has welcomed several new battery/electric companies to its membership, including iRobot, Positec, Stanley Black & Decker Inc. and Sunrise Global Marketing, and John Cunningham, president of the Consumer Products Group at Stanley Black & Decker Inc., recently joined the 2013-2014 OPEI board of directors.
To help the industry have a voice in regulatory and standards development, OPEI also formed an Electric Products Committee, currently led by representatives from Stanley Black & Decker Inc. and Techtronic Industries, N.A.
The OPEI Electric Products Committee is tasked with coordinating with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on standards for battery/electric products for international markets, as well as regional adoptions for the North American market. The committee members are given an opportunity to participate, review, and give input in the development of product standards.
The first order of business has been the development of the first-ever OPEI/ANSI standard for an electric robotic mower. Fourteen member company representatives are currently reviewing IEC standards for electric robotic mowers and identifying modifications for the North American market. Projects are underway to develop standards for battery/electric chain saws, lawn hedge trimmers and lawn trimmers.
“The formation of our Electric Products Committee not only addresses the unique needs of battery/electric products, but it also allows us to harmonize requirements between fuel-powered, corded and battery products on a global basis,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI.
As sales and demand for battery/electric-driven outdoor power equipment increases, OPEI is expanding its market statistics collection to capture and track the growth of this product segment.
Current reports for OPEI members include monthly shipment data for battery/electric blowers and walk-behind rotary mowers. Future reporting is planned to include battery/electric snow throwers, chain saws, string trimmers, and hedge trimmers.
“We’re proud that OPEI has become the go-to place for reliable, timely statistical information and shipment data for our industry,” added Kiser. “Our commitment to reporting will only grow in 2014 as we add more battery/electric products, and as we strike out on a joint effort with our European partners to collect meaningful global data.”
The growth in battery/electric-powered products was on display at GIE+EXPO 2013 in Louisville, Ky. According to Kiser, “This year, we saw more battery/electric manufacturers and a broader range of products in this category, including some first-time UTV exhibitors. It is clearly a growing segment in OPE, and as battery technology improves, there will be broader applications.”