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Husqvarna uses sun to power your lawnmower

Swedish company is adding to its robotic lawnmower line with a solar hybrid that uses the sun's energy to extend the time between recharging its nickel metal hydride battery.

Husqvarna plans to show off a solar-powered version of its robotic lawnmower this weekend at the Green Industry and Equipment Expo 2008.

The Stockholm, Sweden-based company originally announced the robot last spring in Europe. This will be its U.S. debut. And what better place to tout a new robotic lawnmower than at a green expo in Kentucky, a state famous for its grass?

Like its original robotic lawnmower, Husqvarna's Automower Solar Hybrid is capable of autonomously maintaining a property of up to a half acre and runs on a rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery.


The 22-pound robot works from a perimeter set with a wire that is slightly buried or staked in place below the grass-cutting level.

If the robot is set to mow during daylight--and honestly, how many people mow at night?--the Solar Hybrid version can draw on solar power while it does its job, extending the time between recharges.

Like the original Husqvarna Automower, the Solar Hybrid version has built-in safety features. The robot automatically shuts off its blades if the mower is lifted, can be locked, has an alarm to deter theft, and uses sensors to work around large objects such as lawn furniture.

Are people going to shell out the cash for a robotic lawnmower given the state of the economy?

Considering how expensive lawn services or gasoline for a regular mower can be, the robot might actually be the more frugal option over the long run. We'll have to wait and see once Husqvarna reveals the price. The original Automower sells for about $2,000.