We bought a new tractor, it came yesterday, and it’s called the Raven. It is a hybrid. It cost a little more than a standard garden tractor, but it’s cool. It’s also a new product which is a risk. Let’s go over the pros and cons.


  • hybrid – uses less gas, fewer emissions, more efficient
  • comfortable and spacious
  • drives like a car – accellerator and brake, variable speed
  • generator
  • ATV mode goes 17 mph
  • small cargo area in back
  • easy to remove mowing deck and blades
  • no belts
  • large front tires


  • more expensive than garden tractor
  • only 46 – inch cut
  • new product, unproven

The last ‘con’ is a big one. Doing some research on the internet revealed some problems with the initial release (only about one month ago). For instance there was a cheap seat detection switch that had given some owners a problem. To their credit, the company, Denver Global Products (DGP), came up with a better switch and better mounting to eliminate that problem. My Raven, only a month later already has this modification installed.

It’s had to know how well the electric motors will hold up. The drive train used a motor as do the two mower blades. The engine is really just a generator which charges a 48V battery pack which in turn drives the tractor and blades. How long will these motors last? Will they work well in 30 degrees or 100 degrees?
The generator function is interesting. I haven’t tried it yet, and I don’t think this is a major factor for us, but it is a nice option to have.
On the first test run, I was able to cut some grass for about 10 minutes and the blades stopped. I tried to restart the blades but they would not turn on. I let it sit for a couple of minutes and tried again and the blades started back up, but quit again after another 10 minutes or so. My best guess is that some thermal overload stopped the blades, but I’m not sure. It was only about 65 degrees, but the grass was pretty wet and long (first cut of the season). The drive motor was fine, so I could drive it around to the garage. I put more gas in the 5-gallon tank, leveled the mowing deck (which was a couple of centimeters off front to back), and went back out for some more cutting. I was conscious of not going too fast and not pushing it too hard and i was able to cut another 20 minutes without a problem.
I have 30 days to try it out. I can return it if I really don’t like it. Joni will need to give it a try as well. I felt that the steering was particularly still – definitely harder to steer than our old tractor. This will be a problem if we want to cut for an hour or more.
I was generally please with the comfort and ride and the power. I cut a path through the ‘meadow’ where we have not cut for a year or more, and it did pretty well. I went pretty slow, but it seemed to have plenty of cutting power. This was one of my main concerns and it passed the test. I don’t know what if anything can be done about the steering, but we will keep testing the Raven to see if we like it.