Mobility scooters can be complex, and understanding the different types of battery, the compatibility and the power options available can be confusing. If you’ve recently bought a new mobility scooter or you’re new to using them entirely, you may be wondering what to do if your scooter needs a new battery – in this guide, we’ll explain the types of batteries you can choose from and what the best replacement is for your scooter.
How Mobility Scooter Batteries Work
Scooter batteries are usually fitted in pairs, so it’s recommended that you fit batteries in this way if you’re replacing them. All scooter batteries are 12 volts to provide a 24-volt output. So, you may see the power listed as 12-volt 35Ah, as an example. The most important factor to check is the physical size of the battery, as the amp hour rate can vary between manufacturers.
You also need to consider whether you need a GEL or AGM battery or Absorbed Glass Mat battery. The latter is sometimes referred to as a sealed lead acid battery. The key difference between these two types of battery is the longevity – the battery is the only source of power you’ll have in your scooter, so they are designed to work differently to other batteries.
Scooter batteries provide a consistent flow of power for a longer period of time, before being recharged fully, which is known as a cycle. Although it’s worth remembering that mobility scooter batteries last longer if you charge them before they run all the way down. You shouldn’t leave dead batteries for longer than a day before recharging them.
Types of Scooter Batteries
There are four main types of batteries for scooters:
Lead Acid – this type of battery is cheaper and offers longevity, while also being lighter than other types. However, lead acid batteries are also higher maintenance and need to be checked regularly. They contain a blend of water and electrolyte, which needs to be carefully topped up regularly.
Gel Cell – these batteries are more expensive and last for less time than lead acid batteries, but they don’t require maintenance and they can’t be spilled, so they’re not as hazardous. The other benefit of gel cell batteries is that they can be taken on planes, so they’re ideal for transporting your scooter on longer journeys.
AGM – these batteries are a more recent innovation and are the most expensive of the three. They’re popular, however, because they don’t spill and are maintenance-free, as well as being more shock-resistant. Like gel cell batteries, they can be taken on planes.
Lithium – lithium batteries are lightweight, but they are more expensive to run and replace compared to other types of battery.
How to Charge Mobility Scooter Batteries
It’s important to charge your scooter batteries properly – you will be able to see how much power your scooter has left by checking the battery gauge on your scooter’s control panel. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking this each time you set off so you can ensure the batteries are fully charged before you start driving.
Many models can be charged without needing to remove the batteries, for added convenience. However, bear in mind that when you’re charging, you’ll need ample space to charge them and easy access to a power socket. You should also take the increase in your electricity bill into account when you’re budgeting for a scooter, as you will need to charge the batteries regularly.
Charging the batteries is easy to do – here’s a step-by-step guide:
Make sure the scooter or wheelchair is turned off.
Connect the charger by plugging it into the designated spot on your machine. This will vary depending on the model and manufacturer of your scooter, but for most large or medium-sized scooters, it’s located on the tiller. Smaller scooters usually have the charging point located towards the foot area or back of the scooter, near the battery.
Switch the power point on at the switch – older models might have an on/off switch, so check this is switched on. For safety reasons, it’s recommended that you disconnect the charger from the power when it’s not in use.
The battery should now begin charging, which will usually be indicated by a light on the battery and on the mobility scooter. Charging times can vary considerably between brands and models but achieving a full charge can take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours. When the light turns green, you’ll know that the battery is fully charged.
Once the scooter battery is charged, you can disconnect the charger from the scooter and then from the power outlet.