Mobility Scooters – What is a Mobility Scooter?
Many people who could benefit from electric mobility scooters don't have them. Why? Simply because they don't think they know enough about them, or they think that they are just too complicated.
The good news is that you don't need to be a mechanic or a race car driver to buy and enjoy a motorized scooter or shoprider scooter.
The truth is that mobility scooters are not very complicated and with a little information you can shop for, buy and enjoy the freedom of your own electric mobility scooter. Everyday more and more people are enjoying new found freedom and independence
What is a mobility scooter?
Electric Mobility scooters were designed to meet the unique needs of people with mobility restrictions. They are simply battery-powered three- or four-wheeled vehicles with a seat and a steering bar, for use by one individual. Before you add the bells and whistles like baskets and lights, you must first decide between the three basic types of mobility scooters - scooters for indoor use, scooters for outdoor use, and scooters designed for use both indoors and out. Although makes and models will vary somewhat, scooters normally come equipped with:
A chassis made of metal or plastic with 3 or 4 inflatable tires - The tires may be soft or hard, filled with air or foam. The type of tire will depend upon weather the electric mobility scooter is intended for indoor, outdoor or indoor/outdoor use.
A seat with armrests - The seat adjusts to fit the rider and almost always has armrests for safety. So that the driver can get on and off with ease, the seat also swivels. The swivel action also allows the rider easy access to tables and desks while seated on the scooter.
A tiller - The tiller on a motorized scooter does a combination of things. It serves as the steering handles, gas pedal, and control panel. It will adjust up and down to fit the driver, and also tilts out of the way when the rider is manoeuvring on and off the scooter. Much like a bicycle, a scooter's handles steer left and right, and what may appear to be a hand brake is actually the throttle.
"Control central" - Mounted on top of the tiller is a console with an ignition switch (that requires a key), a speed control (much like on a golf cart or lawnmower), a switch to change back and forth from forward to reverse (again like a gold cart), and a battery gauge displaying available power. This battery gauge is like the gas gauge on your car.
Breaking system - Most mobility scooters or shoprider scooters have a very sophisticated break system and won't have driver-operated brakes. Instead, they use an automatic breaking system called regenerative braking. When the driver releases the throttle, the brakes automatically take hold. In addition to the regenerative braking system there is a parking brake which holds the vehicle in place after it stops.
Electric Motor with Rechargeable Batteries – An electric mobility scooter's motor is powered by two rechargeable, lead batteries. A single battery charge will allow a scooter to travel along at speed of up to eight miles an hour and travel as far as 35 miles. Of course these statistics will vary depending upon the make and model of the scooter. Also keep in mind that your scooter's speed and range will vary with the travel conditions. Particularly hilly roads and bad weather slow you down and call for increased battery power.
Why would someone choose an electric mobility scooter instead of a motorized wheelchair? The most obvious reason is the cost. A motorized wheelchair will cost from 5 to 10 times what a motorized scooter will cost. Scooters are also more versatile than a wheelchair. Indoor/outdoor and outdoor models work nicely outdoors. Electric wheelchairs, on the other hand, are not considered an outdoor vehicle.