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Power tools firm Husqvarna CEO sees battery restraints for another decade

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FILE PHOTO: A Husqvarna robotic lawn mower is placed in its docking station in the Humlegarden park in Stockholm, Sweden July 21, 2018. Picture taken July 21, 2018. REUTERS/Anna Ringstrom/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The head of Husqvarna, the world’s biggest gardening power tools maker, said it could take another decade before batteries on the market have enough range to electrify some of the company’s still petrol-driven products.

The Swedish company, whose products range from lawn mowers and trimmers to chainsaws, generates the bulk of its sales from petrol-driven tools but has a strategy to grow its share of battery-driven ones.

The same batteries are being used to electrify sectors from shipping to passenger cars, but “range anxiety” – the fear that limited battery capacity could see owners of electric cars stranded in remote locations – has held back some passengers from switching from gasoline cars.

Husqvarna Chief Executive Kai Warn said that while batteries today last long enough for Husqvarna’s urban environment products, they are not sufficient for high-energy consuming products such as chainsaws used for full days in forestry.

“The limit is not really our product development, but simply the physical limit of the amount of energy you can store in the technology of today, which is lithium ion battery technology,” he told Reuters in an interview.

“There are still some products that need to remain petrol (based) for the next probably 10 years because of technology,” he said.

Husqvarna sees its battery driven and robotic product sales growing by 15-20% in the medium-term, although there was only single-digit growth in the first half of 2019.

South Korean battery makers, among the largest players in the sector, have promised that the next generation of batteries due in three years or so will cost less and offer greater ranges.

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, additional reporting by Esha Vaish; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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via Reuters