Mobility scooter batteries and range
It's a good idea to be aware of what types of batteries there are on mobility scooters and how to charge them.
We asked our consumer panel members who use scooters to give us their views on batteries. Here's what they said:
Types of scooter battery
All mobility scooter batteries are rechargeable, though they'll probably need replacing every 12 to 18 months. You charge them using an ordinary electric socket.
"Mobility scooter batteries will last longer if you don't run them all the way down, and don't leave dead batteries for more than a day without charging them."
There are three main types of scooter battery:
- Lead acid batteries are cheaper, lighter and last longer, but need the most maintenance. They contain a mixture of water and electrolyte, which must be regularly checked and topped up. Take care not to spill the liquid, as it can burn you.
- Gel cell batteries are more expensive and last for a shorter time than lead acid batteries. They can't be spilled, need no maintenance, and can be taken on planes. The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) has advice on disabling mobility scooters for air travel.
- AGM batteries use newer technology, and are the most expensive. They don't spill or require maintenance, and are also more shock-resistant. They can also be taken on planes.
Check with the manufacturer or supplier if you're unsure which type your scooter uses.
Charging your battery
A battery measure on the scooter's control panel will show how much power is left - this is usually a colour-coded dial or set of lights, or a picture on the digital display. Check the battery's full when you set off.
Most mobility scooters can be charged without removing the batteries. To charge your scooter you'll need a place which:
- has enough space, and
- has easy access to a power socket.
When budgeting for a scooter, remember that charging it will add to your electricity bill.
To avoid being stranded, plan on travelling about half the manufacturer's stated range in between charges.
Hills, the weather, your weight, heavy shopping and the age of the batteries will all affect how far your scooter can actually go.
Safety tip: It's wise to treat manufacturers' claims about the range of your scooter with caution.
Batteries and air travel
If you're taking your mobility scooter on a plane, BHTA, the trade organisation representing the UK healthcare and assistive technology industry, has useful safety information: Air travel and your mobility scooter.