The Evolution EvoSystem is an innovative attempt to minimise the cost of buying a pro-quality, petrol-powered outdoor tools and equipment by utilizing a common engine – the most expensive part of the outfit - in a portable frame, to which you bolt one of three accessories: a pressure washer; a power generator; or water pump.
The system can be built in stages by buying the engine and one accessory, adding others later as the need develops.
I plumped for a pressure washer to replace my aging but ultra-reliable Kärcher, adding a generator that I can use to power my office on the rare occasions when we lose the mains supply.
A 6.5hp Evolution own-brand engine is available for £199.99 but given that I’m a motoring journalist, I opted for the 6hp Mitsubishi engine for £10 more. (This also allows me to boast that I am, once again, the proud owner of a Mitsubishi Evolution…) The 175bar pressure washer was £120, the same price as the 2.4kW 110V/230V generator, and the foul water pump.
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A bad start
First impressions weren’t good. Other reviewers warned of patchy build quality but the state of the welding on the feet of the engine stand was still a shock; one foot came loose as I tried to tighten the mounting bolt, while the thread on another was blocked by a weld spatter, meaning that I couldn’t even start to bolt it up.
The quality of the welding around the frame was appalling too; good welding is art, and this was not good welding.
I was sent a replacement very quickly, and this one was much, much better. (And no, the quality of the replacement can’t be attributed to the fact that anyone knew I was reviewing it; I bought it with my own money and did so via an online retailer to make sure that everything was as anonymous as I could.)
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Clear and easy instructions
My first caveat is that you must read the instruction manual thoroughly.
I didn’t, because I am a man, and came unstuck twice. The ‘why’ and ‘how’ don’t matter as the instructions are very well written and easy to follow and if you follow them, then you will have no problem in fitting the wheels, feet and handles onto the engine and frame.
Beware though, the sub-assemblies are very heavy, so if you are lifting them onto a workbench to make access easier, a good lifting technique is essential.
Joining the engine and pressure washer was less easy. The connections are robust and well engineered but by golly! the joint is stiff. I got it together eventually – and expect it to free off a little with use as I take it apart a few times – but it took a while and was much harder than the instructions suggest.
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A joy to use
Once joined, the pressure washer proved a delight to use. I have fairly low water pressure, especially in the garden, something I worried would be a problem with a machine that can draw up to 8 litres a minute.
As it happens, it coped very well and now allows me to move around the gardens drawing water from various taps and water butts (using a separate Bosch self-priming hose) with a freedom that my main-powered Kärcher simply couldn’t offer.
The lance comes with a 6 metre long hose, which feels a bit mean, but otherwise works extraordinarily well. Pulling the end of the lance forward enables you to use it in low-power mode to draw shampoo or cleaning fluid from a one-litre reservoir, mixing the detergent seamlessly with the water.
If you then click the end back it changes into high-pressure mode – with a variable fan from pinpoint to fan - to rinse off.
I’ve used it to clean the car and patio so far, and have been delighted with the results. It’s far more powerful than I was expecting and being able to trundle around the place unencumbered by a power lead is an absolute joy.
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Power on the go
The power generator is a similar story. While it could be semi-permanently wired into the mains supply via a changeover switch (as we’ve done with our house and the ‘big’ generator), my free-standing office is ideally suited to poking a cable through an open window and just plugging the essentials in via an extension lead and gang socket when needed.
I haven’t had to use it in anger yet, but testing it shows that it does exactly what it should.
It also has an 110V output to supplement the 230V needed for UK domestic use, so I’ll be able to take advantage of cheap 110V power tools at the car boot sale without having to buy a separate adaptor.
It also means, of course, that I can take power tools into the field and run them miles from home, saving me having to go to the extra expense of having to buy the (usually more expensive and less powerful) cordless varieties.
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Well-engineered, clever solution
The water pump, which I haven’t bought, claims to pump up to 1,000 litres a minute, and can cope with solids up to 8mm wide, making it suitable for pumping foul and dirty water, including floods.
It comes with a filter but not hoses, so you’ll need to factor in the cost of them on top of the £120 purchase price.
My overall verdict is that it is a well-engineered and clever solution to a number of problems.
It only really makes sense if you are going to be buying and using at least two of the accessories, but if that is the case then I can highly recommend it.
The Evolution Evo-System comes with a 2-year warranty if you buy it in the UK.
Six months in
After owning it for six months, during which time I have only used it half-a-dozen times, the welds holding the wheels have both failed, leaving me with a machine that is considerably less portable than its designers envisioned.
While a warranty repair has been offered, in light of my earlier concerns about the quality of the welding on the first machine I received, I cannot recommend the system any longer.
This is a real shame, as the concept shows great promise, but the quality of workmanship on the two units I have had is too poor for me to advise buying one of your own.
However, if you'd like to give it a go anyway, you can buy the Evolution Evo-System on Amazon.
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