I know you still want the 2014 Raven MPV 7100 Hybrid Mower Generator, and no one else has come out with a product that even comes close to this new idea yet. But I also know that many of you are cautious about buying one this year. You really want to make sure the Raven is now ready to give you many years of use. So I am going to continue to keep you informed about the one I have here in Wisconsin.
I’m going to go through what others are saying and asking about the machine, what I’m doing, what issues I am having.
1. The engine is too small. The mower and the transmission is not powered by the gas engine. The gas engine only runs the generator and is sized to handle the 7100 watt generator. The power for the blades and transmission comes from brush-less electric motors powered by batteries. When you use the Raven’s engines you charge the batteries by running the generator. Even though the Raven weighs over twice as much as your lawn tractor it still has plenty of power to spin the tires on turf.
2. No-name Chinese engine. If you don’t follow the market as closely as I do you probably don’t know the name of this company but I will tell you that when you buy a new generator, water pump, gas welder, economy ATV, 4 wheeler, 2 wheel scooter or your kids new mini bike there is a really good chance the engine was made by RATO. They make a lot of engines for other companies including brands you have known and loved for years. It’s time we all get used to the fact that the Chinese engines that the name brand manufactures are using are some of the best built engine ever produced. Parts for this one are readily available through authorized dealers.
3. They took away the steering column adjustment lever. On the original Raven there was a plastic lever you could use to adjust the tilt of the steering column. On the new Raven this has been replaced by a bolt. The reason this was changed is many owners complained they could not get the bolt tight enough and the steering column would slip. The presented a driving hazard and in particular could be very dangerous if you were driving the Raven in high gear. The lever was replaced with a bolt for safety. You can still adjust it if you need to with a wrench.
4. There is no battery charger available. There is no need for a 48 volt charger. Here is what’s confusing for some. This propulsion system is different than a golf car or any of the current electric mowers on the market. The electric drive portion of the Raven is designed to be charged from the generator. You don’t need to plug it in when you are not using it. If you have been running around all week in battery mode and deplete the 48 volt batteries all you have to do is start the gas engine and the Raven quickly charges itself. The gen-set uses a separate starting battery. There is no need to hook up a charger to the 48 volt system. There is a 48 volt charging port on the generator panel…but there is no need to ever use it. Why find an outlet and plug it in for 12 hours when you can just start the engine and charge the system in a few minutes?
In fact we find that you can run around all week doing chores with the Raven MPV 7100 in battery mode. When I mow the lawn it charges the batteries and I am good to go for another week. I have yet to have it run out of juice.
The Raven does come with a trickle charger that will charge the starting battery if needed. I don’t expect I will ever need it.
5. I just want to mow my lawn so how good can this thing be? It does too many things. I do realize that the Raven’s blades are powered by electric motors versus gas engines on the others I cited. I’m just curious how it compares to traditional gasoline-powered mowers.
I am very impressed with the mowing quality and power available. Because it uses electric motors that are speed controlled the deck does not lug down in heavy grass. In fact the deck tries to maintain a constant speed on the blades and it does it a lot better than a belt-driven, gas powered deck.
The mowing quality is as good as any 42-48 inch lawn tractor on the market. It is a floating deck like most other lawn tractors so it will scalp on very uneven terrain but on good flat lawns you will be very impressed. To use another review site’s criteria.
- Side discharging: Excellent:
- Easy to maneuver.
- Includes features that make mowing more convenient.
- Includes an electric PTO.
- Includes a washout port.
- Includes cruise control.
- Includes comfortable high-back seat.
I really like the cruise control. It maintains your ground speed exactly.
6. Is the ground clearance adequate? How difficult is it to remove the mowing deck?
It’s really easy to remove the deck. Just a couple of pins and one electrical connector. No belt guides, belts and deck stabilizers. You don’t need a wrench to remove the deck. With the deck removed there is over 8 inches of clearance under the frame of the Raven MPV 7100.
7. Is it easy to Assemble. The Raven comes to a dealer or Lowes in a crate. It is 98% assembled and all that has to be done is to attach the seat, steering wheel, rear hitch and install 2 fuses. The assembly instructions were very clear. The parts and fasteners are clearly labeled and they come in separate bags. If you read the manual and follow the simple instructions (with pictures) you can have the Raven up an running in about 20 minutes. PLEASE read the assembly instructions and DO NOT take any of the bolts out of the labeled bags until instructed to do so.
It Cuts Very Well.
The mower will mow very well at 6 mph but I can only cut my lawn about 4 mph. My lawn is very rough with lots of potholes and the heavy unit aggravates the roughness. Yes, It has a front suspension and that works very well but the rear drops into my potholes and it can be very jarring. The ride reminds me of commercial zero-turn without a suspension seat. There is an optional seat – get it if you have a rough lawn.
I went out and mowed a roadway with it just to see how it handles long grass. The grass wasn’t thick but it was about 14 inches tall. You know the kind. Tall, spindly bluegrass that your mower won’t cut the first time. Well the Raven clipped it all off in the first pass.
I made a video mowing the tall grass but it’s not edited yet.
It takes me about 45 minutes to mow my one acre and that’s all it needs to charge the batteries for a whole week of running around doing landscaping chores. I have yet to run out of battery in the electric mode.
In high gear it will go faster with the generator running. In high gear using only batteries it will slow down on a 6-8% grade. With the engine running there is more current available for the transmission motor amd it will climb steep roadways with no problem.
It drives like your car. It has an accelerator pedal, a brake and a cruise control. If you don’t have a lot of experience on a mower you will really like this. For me though it has taken me a while to get used to. Blame it on the old guy, not on the Raven itself. I know, I’ve said it before but the cruise is the best!
The Raven is available through a growing dealer network and through Lowes ONLY in the Southeast states. At this time Lowes is only stocking it in their southeast warehouse and my understanding is they may not add it to their other warehouses this year. It will not be stocked at stores and you will have to order it out of the warehouse.