Mobility scooters: batteries and range
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 and they'll 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 3 main types of scooter battery. Check with the manufacturer or supplier if you're unsure which type your scooter uses.
- 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. BHTA has advice on disabling mobilty 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.
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.
Safety tip: It's wise to treat manufacturers' claims about the range of your scooter battery with caution.
Hills, the weather, your weight, heavy shopping and the age of the batteries will all affect how far your scooter can actually go. To avoid being stranded, plan on travelling about half the manufacturer's stated range in between charges.
See also: our scooter search.
This information is based on the findings of a research project carried out by Rica (now the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers). 16 disabled and older people (half experienced scooter users, half novices) tested a sample of seven class 2 and class 3 mobility scooters.
Last updated: May 2018