Lowes Raven Hybrid Mower- Down for Count

For the second time in as many months, Lowes has pulled the Raven from stores and Lowes.com.  It seems that exactly what we thought would happen is happening.  The Chinese ATV roots (RATO) are showing through and there are a bunch of complaints racking up on websites about the units failing. Bad batteries, switches and one user in our comments even said the unit just took off on him!  A problem like that is the death of the machine and I am sure Lowes will not likely be bringing the unit back unless it has a major revision.  Another user on YouTube complained his blade fell off of the mower.  His blade fell off?  WTF, are you kidding me!  I have written off this machine and would advise all of our readers to hold off on purchasing this until major revisions have been made to both quality of the parts and the engineering of the safety system.  If it has these issues now, where do you think it will be in 3 years, after 100 hours of mowing, covered in mud and grass clippings?

Raven mower

Although I love the design and innovation with the Raven, I think Lowes learned an expensive lesson here.  They shouldn’t brand and market a Chinese clone engine manufacturers product as their own.  Sure it was assembled in the USA, but the parts are made in China with a severe lack of quality control.  With such a new radical design there is always a risk.   Lowes has the best big box store mower selection available with brands like Troy-Bilt, which is exclusive to Lowes, John Deere and Husqvarna, all of which are well respected quality brands.  The good thing that has come out of this is that these brands now see a new market for hybrid ATV-mower-generators.  From what we have seen Denver Global Products (RATO) has made a valiant effort to repair, send out replacement parts and mechanics to these units.  Unfortunately the problems are many and this unattended acceleration just makes the unit not safe and a huge liability.  Long term viability is not likely.  Take a look at all the Chinese ATV manufactures here.

We contacted Denver Global and they told us “This is a Lowes merchandising decision. It is not linked to any safety concerns. It is our anticipation to be back on sale soon.”  We called around to a few Lowes stores and got varied responses of why the unit was pulled.  One said a safety switch and another said he had one returned with brake issues.  The consensus was that it is not currently for sale at any Lowes.  I don’t think these early units will return back in Lowes stores anytime soon, which is a shame because I really wanted one! Stick a fork in it, it’s done!  Read our original Raven Hybrid Mower article.

 

61 COMMENTS

  1. I was hoping with it being at least being assembled in the usa would help with the quality of the unit, but you can only do so much when your components are of low quality. I can’t believe the one video where he had so many replacement parts that’s totally unacceptable. It’s kind of sad it’s a good idea marred by poor durability and value for money. You could get a real nice zero turn mower which will have a better cut quality for around the same price. Plus the zero turn mower would have some local dealer support good luck finding your local RATO dealer compared to a John Deere. I just hope someone can take the idea an has the talent and money to put a good version of this out.

  2. I would never buy something like this. Lowe’s is going to get a bad name with this kind of low quality. I saw one of these at Lowe’s and looked closely at the build quality and the welds on the frame. Terrible! No parts support. Bad planning someone should be made accountable!

  3. I purchased a Raven at my wife’s insistence and still have had no problems at all. I have used it in all intended functions, mower, generator, tractor, ATV, with no problems. I just baby it as I switch between functions. The concept is great. Although I did anticipate prototype problems, I did not have any idea that so many glitches would surface.

  4. I see so many making comments most never had one. I for one had one it really nicely designed, yes it has a few bugs but anything with this concept yes it’s not made here parts wise ,there is no USA company that’s even close to this out there. They took it back Friday and I will have a new one when they work out the bugs and I think this it well be much better. And one more thing the units Quality frame and thought out really well if you really give the unit a chance you will really like it when it’s finish.

  5. Mine finally had a problem today. Neither the drive motor nor the blade motors will activate. The engine starts; the generator works; but neither the electric drive nor hybrid drive will activate. I intend to work with the company to get it working. My beef is with Lowes. The large “big box” stores have a bad habit of demanding exclusivity to a product and then dumping the company when things get a bit dicey rather than work out the problems with the vendors.

  6. Howard in this case Lowe’s put up money and research on this project I would think with there name behind it will need to work right. If they screw up they will eat a lot of crow and investors will bring out the hanging ropes.

  7. Bought a raven. Mowed three hours and returned it to lowes. Brakes weak. Steering. HARD. Motors over heated both. Blades and drive motors. Had to wait 15 min before it worked. Great idea. Poor execution. Obivious no one at lowes ever drove this junk

  8. Is it worth it?
    I have 30 hours on mine. Batteries must be fully charged or the unit will not function properly. I worked out a few bugs mine had and I am finding the Raven worth the hassles. The Raven is a jack of all trades and a master of none. Just like me. I will keep my Raven.

  9. You got me to thinking that I might need to start it up and let it run awhile without any power usage other than recharge. I never had any problem once I charged the starter battery on initial use until I was trying to engage wheel drive motor after having backed the unit into the barn with battery only. The mower starts OK, but will not engage drive motor nor blade motors after that. That could indicate a low power problem with a failsafe kickout. Thanks for the idea. I will check it out. I like the design and the comfortable seating.

  10. The product is a danger. if the blades can engage with the engine off, or take off after the electrical components are wet, why would u want it if you cant clean it off? I should know, i use to work for Denver Global Products. I know how they are built and put together first hand, and how their employees feel about the unit. send it back to china!!!

  11. I had cleaned it with my compressor air blow off works great I even clean it with my battery leaf blower.

  12. Other issues I encountered. Hard steering was fixed by lubricating and adjusting the two guides with pins that are attached to the brass steering plate. Engine would not run properly because the gas tank formed a vacuum
    and would not let gas flow to the engine. The vacuum was due to the cheap anti tip vent located on top of the gas tank. I just cleared anti tip vent opening and the engine runs fine. The cutting blades mow well as long as the 48 volt battery is fully charged. Otherwise the blades will keep shutting off and on when the battery is low. Several nuts and bolts were loose when I received my unit. I just made sure all things were tight and away I went. They should have sent battery chargers with indicators so people would know how to charge the units. Lowes associates know nothing about this Raven and are no help at all.

  13. Yes when it comes back a new one,I will be tighten all bolts and lube steering shaft also will check out the the brass steering plate. I call Global Friday they tell me Friday Lowe’s reps came in and ok’ed them it should be released soon.

  14. Bubba,
    Your comments are very useful and informative! Thanks for your insight as to what to do to ensure it works and is safe. I intend on buying the Raven if it comes back out on the market within 3 weeks or my lawn will require me to find a different option.

  15. Mine had a blade fall off, easily put it back on but today it was dead can not get it to even try and start? yes I charged it, nada?

  16. To Dean
    If the starter is cranking and still nothing, loosen the gas cap and see if a vacuum was formed. Check the 2 fuses under the seat. If it just clicks while turning the key it is the starter battery.

  17. I surrendered and had to take it back. After emails and phone contacts with Denver, I got nowhere. The engine would start; generator would work; but Raven would not engage drive motor in either electric or hybrid mode. Blade motors would no longer activate in hybrid mode either. And, yes, generator mode was disengaged. This was a heart-breaker because my wife was so proud of her chosen gift. Lowe’s has Raven on a no-questions buy-back. Oh, well, onward (sigh).

  18. Called Denver Global one of the fixes are a redesign on fixture which mounts the blade to shaft. So you need that fix for sure. On starting did you try the choke to start if not look from rear it’s on left side it is the wire loop put finger in put and pull now if it not quite there push back in just barley also make sure plug wire is pushed on tight.

  19. First of all I want to say that I really like my Raven. Buying first year products always have problems. I am very confident that these issues will be resolved and Lowes will stand behind this product. I did not buy this item for the mower, I liked all the other features. I use it to move around my property with a cart attached hauling items, which may I say works wonderful. I have had a recent problem with the unit not moving in either mode. I think it may have something to do with some heat factor (unsure). I wait a couple minutes and then it moves. And, yes I did have the gas leak from the inline filter, I tightened it and have not had any problems with that since. I could have went out and purchased another ATV to do all the things I wanted to do, but it wasn’t practical. My wife really liked the idea that it was a hybrid. She’s kind of a green nut. If Lowes wants my unit back and does not plan on fixing or replacing it, I will be disappointed. This is a great concept idea. So Lowes don’t disappoint me.

  20. Bubba Review
    Complaint: Hard to Steer
    Fix: Lubricate and adjust brass steering plate and guides
    Complaint: Will not move or engage cutting blades
    Fix: Charge both batteries fully before use
    Complaint: Backfires on shut down
    Fix: Lower idle except while mowing
    Complaint: Gas engine will not run
    Fix: Cleared anti tip valve
    Complaint: Clumps of grass left on Yard
    Fix: Raised plastic discharge shoot
    Complaint: Will not mow in Reverse
    Fix: Altiquip this winter Cant live without my Raven right now

  21. Low charge on batteries was not a problem with the Raven I had. I had used it for a couple of hours as a generator to power a saw and grinder. After driving the unit back to the barn and removing the key, Raven would not move the next day. The engine started fine. I then set it in generator mode so I could let it charge for 15 minutes or so. Still no luck. I ran it again in generator mode for about 30 minutes to charge it, all to no avail. There is no reason to expect anything but success after the steps I took. As I said, I used it for a month and carefully mixed functions to be sure I had kept batteries charged. I am in no way anti-Raven, but I will wait until I receive definite confirmation that these paralyzing bugs are fixed, if Denver still plans to fix the bugs.

  22. Hey Bubba on the battery’s 1 battery is only for starter the 48 volt one is the main one for everything else and if that battery is low or faulty all kinds of problems will happen. Also as far as idle backfire if you look a carb electric wire is for that purpose if that doesn’t work backfire for sure. I did hear about hard to steer problem I had that for sure which I tried the lube idea, you said clean anti tip valve is the float needle valve that same thing? and what is Altiqip ? But all in all I want my back also watch it be coming out when grass season is all done for season.

  23. To crawford overton
    The anti tip valve I was referring to is located on top of the gas tank and has a hose running back to the air filter. My gas engine would run poorly and sometimes not start. I finally figured out a vacuum was being formed in the gas tank and not allowing gas to get to the carb. Everytime I opened the gas cap a hiss and vacuum happened to me. I removed the hose that terminated at that valve and basically punctured a hole through the valve and reattached the hose. Altiquip is where Lowes contracts out warranty work for the Raven in my area. I love my Raven and use it for numerous ways and will definitely keep it. You correct about the starting battery too. Very important for that battery to be fully charged.

  24. While charging the batteries using the Ravens own power source, it seems the starter battery may still not fully charge. I am using a trickle charger with a meter to let me know when and if the starter battery is completely charged. Only then will my Raven function properly. This charging issue will be worked out later but for now I am able to enjoy and work my Raven.

  25. I should have kept mine till they fixed the bugs. The only problem was when blade came off it was damaged. Denver Global said they would send out new one called again they told me they were on back order this is really hard to believe because building new one’s are not happening. With month coming up I let them come and get it. I got a promise when new one’s came in my replacement price wouldn’t change. I really can believe down the road price wouldn’t change with all the fixes to be done. We will see but the store gave me a written paper on it but then I did mandate it in front of many people.

  26. I saw many flaws in the basic layout but still really liked the functionality. It was a joy to ride because the seat was more like a truck seat and kept me safely planted in it. My main lawnmower has a terrible seat that actually has no side support and can easily allow rider to slide off. I am continually grabbing the side of the seat to prevent being thrown off if I hit a root or bump.

    All of the controls should be clearly visible from the seat and be located on the front dashboard. The minuscule electrical switch levers are definitely not good, and their vinyl covers are very unprofessional. The breakers should not be part of the visible array and should be standard breakers concealed in a water-tight electrical junction box. The switches are not designed for repetitive use and need to be beefed up. The mower deck is not designed for a clean discharge and needs to be redesigned for maximum ejection of grass. There needs to be a way to easily reconnect mower deck to unit without having to exert a lot of lifting force to lift the heavy deck into place. Having a lower setting to allow suspension rods to line up easily with the disconnected deck supports would help. The high speed lever seems to almost be an afterthought since it is concealed under the unit and requires almost standing on one’s head to see it.

  27. I with a large number of people have tried to make this unit work, the factory was great to work with and the reponse fast. but in the end I bought this to free up time and get the yard done faster and liked the added features.
    I had only charging and battery issues with mine and believe that with a larger generator this could possibly be a great tool.
    I do not get why the authors of all these articles are harping on the China made engine, for I have read no complaints related to the running of the engine other then the rough running when the battery is low.

  28. I went back to all posting and found only one said anything about china did you really read them? Out of 31 p0sting only one mention china

  29. And most car parts come from China, Canada, or Mexico. We are destroying our ability to compete by regulations, environmental nonsense, and outright ignorance of fiscal responsibility to America. I still like the concept and hope it comes back in robust form.

  30. I had my raven for a few months and the gen. part of this unit was great. The mower on the other hand died the first ten min. I ran it. The switch under the seat failed also. I did get the mower deck replaced but found out if you try to cut grass more than 5 inches in height the mower motor closes to the discharge shout will over heat and thermal out. It resets itself in about 10 to 15 min. but this was an unexpected problem I ran into. Also very hard to turn at a stand still I thought.

  31. This situation has turned into a circus. On March 20, 2013 Briggs & Stratton filed an patent infringement lawsuit against Chongqing RATO Power/Denver Global/et.al. Denver Global was acquired for $70 million late 2011. The Company was less than 2 years old. The former Husquarna Executives walked out on Denver Global May, 2013 after a disagreement over several issues. Possible lawsuits in the wind.

  32. OK, I guess I learned my lesson. My wife and I decided to go with a top of the line ZTR instead. The zero percent for 48 months sealed the deal. The grass now looks like a carpet. Nothing I ever had before did this great a job. This is not a sales pitch, just a way to heal my wounds after a great disappointment.

  33. John, that was exactly what mine did, which was to overheat and shut down the right blade after a few minutes of cutting my 5″ grass to 3″. That blade would stop and start so my one acre would look horrible with one side being cut on have of the lawn. I then would have go to back back over it using the left blade to cut the uncut portions. It was already taking me almost two hours to cut my lawn, but it took an an extra hour or so to go back over it a second time.

    Taking over three hours to cut my lawn, plus the extra gas, made for a huge time waster and expensive for the extra fuel.

    That engine doesn’t look like any B&S engine I’ve ever saw.

  34. You guy’s might want to move this discussion to the Tool Forum you can post links to articles easier, and you don’t have to wait between getting your posts authorized

    • Good Call, now if we only knew how lol We will see what we can do. We are trying to change the comments to login with facebook also as we speak.

  35. I have a raven. The blade fell off and the motor by the chute will quit running. The starting battery is dead after setting up for two weeks. I need to know where and how to charge the starting battery. THANKS for any help

  36. You should have received a charger with your Raven, with a cigarette plug connector on it. If not, you need to call DGP to have them send it to you. It plugs into the generator connector on the panel.

    As far as the blade falling off, everyone had the same issue. Everyone has mostly experienced the blade stopping, and has returned the Raven, including me. There is one person on here who has claimed he works for DGP, and that they are going to upgrade and fix everyone’s Raven. He’s said that for at least three months and it hasn’t happened yet. Entirely up to you if you want to keep it however.

  37. You need to call DGP they have new kits to secure blades also they have a diode to help with the battery problem I think they will come and get it for the fixes.

  38. I was told by Tec at DGP none of the fixes were approve till about 3 weeks ago and then you need the new parts made so .I guess you just got to wait. By the way remember Lowe’s money was used to start this produce and they don’t need a repeater what happened before.

  39. To elaborate on what I said earlier, after the buy-back from Lowe’s, I went to an outdoor supply within walking distance of the house and purchased a 54″ ZTR with precision welded deck, stainless steel cockpit, and cushy deck chair. Zero financing sealed it. I could not be more satisfied. I can get on the mower when I am tired and finish the job refreshed. Deck-to-blades is so precision that it cleans itself even when wet. I went back and told Tim that I wished he had given me a swift kick for not doing that years ago. He just smiled and said, “Well, there are some things you just have to learn for yourself.”

  40. Howard is that a zero turn with 2 levers talk to me in about 7 years pushing those dum levers ,I have a 60inch cut said about the same thing you just said I ave to keep pushing levers for about 4 hours every mow arms are just pum wore out LOL good luck if anything you will receive a good upper body for sure LOL. Crawford

  41. He, he. I just have to use my fingers. The levers are about as hard to move as two corn stalks. I would tell you which brand it is, but I don’t want anyone to think I am advertising. Seriously, I used lawn tractors for years and have many times almost had the mowers knock me off. The last mower, that I still have, has been the most dangerous one of all with no side restraints. I have almost been thrown off the seat hundreds of times. That has not been a problem with this ZTR that has retractable arm rests.

  42. DGP is requesting that Ravens be returned for a full refund. Wait and see is all one can do. If your Raven works just keep it and return it later for a full refund.

  43. Just more confirmation that their was never any plan to upgrade them in the first place. If there was an upgrade plan, it would have been done three months ago.

    I went back to using my old Craftsman mower. I may later upgrade to a 54″ Garden Tractor. I want something that has 4×4 and independent suspension.

  44. It was my 42″ Craftsmen tractor that gave me so much misery because the seat is so small and created all sorts of seating instability. I will keep it for picking up leaves for composting. If there is no objection, I will tell you that my new mower is a Dixie Chopper ZEE-2 2354. I will never go back to what I had used all of my life. It just is not worth the painful agony and danger.

  45. I have the same 42″ Craftsman, and a lawn with slopes and ruts that make you feel like you are falling out of the seat or about to tip over. I have a walkout basement, so I have 10 foot, 45 degree slopes on both sides of the house, with about an acre to cut. The Raven was way larger so I never felt unstable, but I would have a lot farther to fall if I actually did tip over. It would had been perfect if it had independent suspension in the rear. It cut the grass in half the time as my Craftsman, which took me about 2-1/2 hours.

    It would freak me out to try to ride a ZTR mower down those steep slopes. I love those Dixie Choppers though. Nice, but very pricey.

  46. I really embarrassed myself with the Chopper though. One month ago, the ground was nice and moist, unlike now where the ground is parched due to very high temps (Finally we are getting more rain). We decided to let part of the plowed ground in the garden go back to grass and weed cover until the weather was more hospitable and just mow it until then. There was a really soft spot and I buried the 600lb Chopper up to the belly. Unlike the Craftsman that one can simply lift slightly and push out, I had to get my daughter to pull me out with her pickup, very embarrassing. That was the only problem though. You definitely do not want to bump into anything with the deck, however, because the blade to deck tolerances are engineered so tight that a hard bump will cause the blade to graze the decking. That happened only once during my getting familiar with the steering. The tight tolerances are made to insure grass discharge even it wet conditions.

  47. DGP has been trying fixes that they thought would work but to no avail. One simple fix of an additional ground kept the cutting blades from shutting off. Still lots of problems to solve but it is on their dime. Just decide if it is worth it or not for yourself.

  48. Denver Global Products would have a life long supporter if they would just let me have it back and provide parts to maintain the machine a t a reasonable price. I will continue to shop Lowe's because of service and Veteran's discount, but was very shocked the way Lowe's management maintained a "blase attitude", they should have at least carried replacement blades, plugs and filters.

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