3 decades of change

Engine Report 2020 - Engine Report 2020

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August 31, 2020

With September being Smart Engine month for Lawn & Landscape, it’s interesting to reflect on the technology changes that have found their way into the small engine industry over the last 30 years. Many of these changes have been driven by market needs and tightening emissions regulations, but others have been driven by advances in small-scale electronics. Gone are the days of side-valve engines, replaced by more efficient, lower emissions overhead valve combustion chambers. Twin cylinder engines have taken over substantial market share from single cylinder engines due to improved twin-cylinder vibration. Ignition systems have transitioned from condensers and points to solid-state electronics with digital control of ignition timing. Fuel systems have migrated from adjustable jet carburetors, to fixed jet carburetors and now to electronic fuel injection (EFI) systems.

It is these EFI systems that will represent the future of smart engines for our industry – not only because EFI makes it easier to meet existing and future emissions regulations, but because of the numerous end-user and business benefits that EFI can deliver.

Kohler pioneered the use of EFI engines in the Turf market over 20 years ago. Our original mission was to enable landscape professionals to be more profitable through lower fuel costs – up to 25% in many operating conditions. With this substantial benefit, many savvy landscaping professionals have experienced direct improvements to their bottom line.

As we continued to expand our EFI product range and capabilities, we began to add and uncover additional benefits. Less fuel usage meant landscaping crews were experiencing better productivity through less time refueling. Operator training time was improved, since many new operators don’t understand “choking” and now could just turn the key and go. Tolerance to ethanol and stale fuel was improved, making our EFI engines easy to start when fuel quality was compromised. Although difficult to quantify, many users described an improved “in-seat power” to get the job done in tough grass conditions. Most importantly engine protection was enhanced, through our smart EFI algorithms and corrections for abnormal engine operating conditions.

“It is these EFI systems that will represent the future of smart engines for our industry.” Eric Hudak, Director - Product Marketing, Kohler Engines

As we look towards the future, EFI has more importance than ever for our industry. Regulatory demands and sustainability expectations will drive a step-function change in technology for engines. Much like automotive, we expect EFI will replace carburetors in the very near future. EFI will serve as the backbone to improve emissions, fuel consumption and reduce our carbon footprint. Continued EFI innovations will also enable us to better serve the needs of business owners and users. We are focused on bringing new capabilities to improve engine durability, serviceability, power and startability – all within the brainpower of our EFI system. Through these innovations, we are committed to bring you a new level of improved operating cost, productivity and confidence to get the job done.

We at Kohler thank you for your continued dedication to us, and our industry.

And please consider EFI for your next equipment purchase. It’s the Smart Engine choice.

Eric Hudak

Director – Product Marketing

Kohler Engines