OPEI: Expanded Focus on Electric/Battery Outdoor Power Equipment
Jan 28, 2014
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The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is ramping up regulatory, standards, and market reporting/statistics efforts for corded electric and battery product segments.

However, OPEI has indicated its expanded statistical reporting will be available to members only. (OPEI was the de facto source for industry shipments for 55 years. It halted the release of industry data after the 2007 model year after members voted to keep such information proprietary.)

Several new battery/electric companies have joined OPEI in recent months, including iRobot, Positec, Stanley Black & Decker, and Sunrise Global Marketing. John Cunningham, president of the Consumer Products Group at Stanley Black & Decker, recently joined the 2013-2014 OPEI Board of Directors.

OPEI has also formed an Electric Products Committee to help the industry have a voice in regulatory and standards development. The committee is currently led by representatives from Stanley Black & Decker and Techtronic Industries. The 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. Committee members have the opportunity to participate, review, and give input in the development of product standards.

Standards Development
The first order of business is the development of the first OPEI/ANSI standard for electric robotic mowers. Fourteen member company representatives are currently reviewing IEC standards for electric robotic mowers and identifying modifications for North America.

Projects are underway to develop standards for other battery/electric products:
• chain saws
• lawn hedge trimmers
• 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.

“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 products was on display at the 2013 GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Kentucky.

“This year we saw more battery/electric manufacturers and a broader range of products in this category, including some first time UTV exhibitors," Kiser said. "It is clearly a growing segment in OPE and as battery technology improves, there will be broader applications.”

OPEI is an international trade association representing small engine, utility vehicle, and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

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