Stihl is aiming to grow its battery range to make up 80% of its offering by 2035. Chairman Michael Traub says the manufacturer will continue to focus on “double technology leadership”, offering both battery and combustion engine products.
Its battery range currently makes up 20%. To meet its new target, the German outdoor power tool brand will be bringing part of its EC motor production in house. Around €17m is being invested in a new unit at its headquarters in Waiblingen, Germany, which Martin Schwarz – Stihl’s executive board member for manufacturing and materials – says will be the “heart of battery production in the future”.
Producing its own EC motors, which is set to start from 2025, will give the company increased resilience of the supply chain and increased competence, adds Schwarz, saying it is also “price competitive to do it in house”.
Speaking at its new Brand World, which opened in Waiblingen earlier this year to showcase the company’s nearly 100-year history, Traub said that he is “confident” and moving ahead with growth plans, despite the manufacturer seeing a dip in its revenue over the last eight months.
Traub said that Stihl has been adjusting following a spike in sales during the pandemic. The “cocooning effect” of lockdown has now come to an end and the growth throughout this period could not continue, he explained. On top of this, there has been inflation and increased production costs to contend with and high energy costs as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine. Its revenue for the period from January to August 2023 was €3.84bn, a drop of 1.5%, and its workforce dipped by 0.5%.
Stihl’s “bright spot” is its growth in the battery segment. New products will be launching for professional users, including the FSA 200, Stihl’s most powerful battery-operated brushcutter which utilises its AP battery power system. Then there’s the HTA 160, its most powerful battery-operated pole pruner.
As well as tools, Stihl is finding solutions for charging and storing batteries. Its partnership with van racking supplier Bott has produced the new bottTainer for flatbed vehicles and the bott Vario 3 for closed vehicles. It has also partnered with Goupil to create a new electric utility vehicle for urban green spaces, with a range of 90km. Stihl is hoping to roll out all three internationally.
The manufacturer has also recently achieved IPX4 certification, a globally recognised water resistance rating, for its professional battery packs.