Prototype DeWalt Ascent Battery-Powered Zero-Turn Suffers Failure
If you’re following social media, you likely know that on the opening day of Equip Expo 2022 (formerly GIE), a prototype DeWalt battery-powered zero-turn lawn mower ignited and caught fire. Fortunately, we are not aware of any injuries. While it makes for exciting headlines and lots of conversation, I believe there are some points worth adding.
DeWalt Lawn Mower Fire Context
First of all, this was a prototype DeWalt Ascent battery-powered zero-turn lawn mower—not a final production model. In speaking with Stanley Black & Decker President, Christine Potter following the press conference announcing the mower, she told us that designing this is even more complex than an electric vehicle. In addition to the drive systems that need to be in place, you’re adding spinning blades along with making it far tougher for the environment it has to thrive in.
While you don’t expect an issue on this level with your prototypes, you do expect to find areas that need improvement. That’s why you have a prototype phase in the design process.
DeWalt Lawn Mower Fire Thoughts
Of course, having this level of failure happen publically is a nightmare for everyone involved. The design team has surely had a long night and will continue to have long days working to figure out what happened. The marketing team and executives will be having many meetings to decide how to address it to the public.
In the near term, the people behind the product are going to learn from the analysis and it’s going to help them make the final product better. Moreso, the industry as a whole is going to be waiting to hear what happened and learn from it as well, making battery-powered lawn mowers better and safer no matter what brand you choose.
Keep in mind, there are real human beings behind the product design and manufacturing. They’re motivated to create products that perform well and are safe to use. In the case of DeWalt commercial lawn mowers, they’re designing them to be the premium Stanley Black & Decker mowers above the Hustler and Cub Cadet brands that are also part of the group.
Tesla didn’t earn the reputation it has overnight and SpaceX had its growing pains as well. But what they and we learn along the way from our failures helps us grow—both in the products (or content in our case) and as human beings. So as you’re consuming content surrounding this incident, don’t discount the decades that DeWalt has been helping Pros and DIYers do their best work, nor the thousands of quality products they’ve developed in that time. While we’re at it, let’s extend some grace to the DeWalt team and if you’re the praying type, offer up a prayer for them as they deal with what is surely a difficult situation for them.
Note: Pro Tool Reviews is not sharing photos or videos of the fire. If DeWalt releases a statement, we’ll update this article to include it.
This is why we should just stick to gas power
as a technician, larry, i will guess that the president demanded something new be shown at a show, while engineers fumbled around, causing techs to try to make it work.
This is an engineer’s take on everything: Failure is an opportunity, to learn and improve and resolve, problems whether anticipated, or not . . better send your first rocket to the moon without astronauts . . . . kudos to you for being literal, not emotional . . your job is not to hide nor obscure problems, disadvantages, etc., we can then take that info and use it how our use of the tool requires us to . . thank you.
It’s a prototype. Sleep will be lost, caffeine will be consumed, lessons will be learned and we will move one.
Best of luck to the design team. It’s an awesome product with plenty of potential beyond the mower itself.
Bad look for electric OPE in general. Though I’m pretty sure gasoline powered OPE has also started on fire a time or two throughout history.