Renting garden tools could be the way ahead for some consumers says Husqvarna

Starting this May, homeowners in Stockholm can access pay-per-use power tools for the garden, eliminating the need to maintain and store hedge trimmers, chainsaws and other tools that are used less frequently.

The project is a pilot, and part of Husqvarna's plans for "sustainable solutions for taking care of gardens and green spaces". 

The Husqvarna Battery Box, is a "smart", 8m x 3m, unattended container with 30 electronic lockers that store battery powered garden care products. Via an iPhone app, homeowners can reserve tools, get instructions, pay, and open the locker to pick up their pre-booked power tool. The "box" will be placed at Bromma Blocks, a shopping centre 15 minutes west of Stockholm city. Renting a garden care product will cost 350 SEK a day (approx 35 Euros or 38 USD).

Husqvarna division president Pavel Hajman said: "People are already sharing homes and cars. To share products that are only used occasionally, like a hedge-trimmer, makes a lot of sense for some users. Husqvarna Battery Box is proof of our commitment to explore new solutions that merge innovation and sustainability, benefitting the homeowner, the community and our distribution network." 

Husqvarna wants to move from petrol powered products to silent battery products with no direct emissions in urban areas. The company hopes to collect insights on market maturity, customer behaviour, and potential future revenue streams for Husqvarna's distribution network. The test period runs from May 1 to October 31, 2017.

After completing registration in the iPhone app Husqvarna Battery Box, the customer can reserve one of the 30 available battery powered products (chainsaw, hedge trimmer, trimmer or blower). The app guides the user on how to open and close the door to the particular locker where the product they want to rent is kept. The app also includes how-to-films to explain how the product works. The Box, powered by solar cells, will be serviced by Husqvarna staff daily, ensuring that products are in good condition and that the batteries are fully charged.

The connection between the Husqvarna Battery Box and the customer is enabled via Bluetooth. For identification purposes, the customer uses the Swedish ID app BankID. Payments are charged to the registered credit card at the end of the month. During the pilot period, the app is only available on iOS.

The battery series in the box is powered by a 36V Li-ion battery, and one battery fits all products in the box (chainsaw, hedge trimmer, blower, trimmer).

Husqvarna Battery Box is the result of a partnership that includes Telenor Connexion, Flex, Zuora and HiQ. Flex builds the connected box and reports its status on events handled through a cloud solution with Telenor Connexion. Zuora supplies the subscription payment solution and HiQ builds the app and the system needed to bring everything together. The shopping centre Bromma Blocks provides the space for the test.

Retailers such as Homebase, Jewson and Wickes run garden tool hire services but the Husqvarna pilot takes renting tools into a new phase.


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