Understanding mobility scooter battery is quite important for scooter owners due to their critical application. These batteries power vehicles used by people with medical conditions and disabilities.
Therefore, knowing ‘what is a mobility scooter battery’ is crucial when you are considering buying one. Making a wrong choice in a mobility scooter battery can mean getting stuck on the road without help.
This article will have a detailed analysis of mobility scooter batteries. You will learn about their types, cost, specifications, and characteristics. You will also learn how to choose a mobility scooter battery for your requirement.
What is a Mobility Scooter Battery?
A mobility scooter battery is an electrical energy storage device that powers a mobility scooter. Mobility scooters are a modified form of motor scooters. They are specifically designed for people with health conditions that prohibit walking or other means of transport.
Mobility scooter batteries are critical for operating these electric vehicles. The role of these batteries is to start the vehicle and keep running it. The driving force of the mobility scooter is also derived from these batteries.
What are the Different Types of Mobility Scooter Batteries?
There are many different mobility scooter batteries based on the battery chemistry. Each of these types has their benefits, shortcomings, and application. Let us study these different batteries one by one:
Sealed Lead Acid Batteries
Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries are the earliest type of deep cycle batteries. Their proper name is Valve Regulated Lead Acid Battery (VRLA). They are an improvement over the conventional lead batteries, which use a liquid electrolyte and lead plates. In contrast, conventional lead acid batteries require frequent electrolyte top-ups. Sealed lead acid batteries do not require electrolyte top-ups.
Advantages of Sealed Lead Acid Batteries
Disadvantages of Sealed Lead Acid Batteries
- Poor life span
- Poor depth of discharge
- High self-discharge rate
- Require venting for the release of buildup gases
- Liquid electrolyte means there are chances of leakage
Gel battery is another type of lead acid battery. It has a silica gel instead of a liquid electrolyte. The silica gel eliminates any type of leakage in the battery. The leak proof nature makes them better from sealed lead acid batteries.
Advantages of Gel Batteries
Disadvantages of Gel Batteries
- Poor depth of discharge
- Poor cycle life
- Not cost-effective
Absorbent Glass Mat Batteries
Absorbent Glass Mat is a modified form of lead-acid batteries. Instead of liquid electrolytes, these batteries use an absorbent glass mat. The glass mat acts as both the separator and the electrolyte.
Advantages of Absorbent Glass Mat Batteries
- Better life span than SLA batteries
Disadvantages of Absorbed Glass Mat Batteries
- Low value for money
- Low cycle life than lithium batteries
Lithium batteries are a great improvement over lead-acid batteries. Lithium-ion batteries have a lithium-based electrode and a graphite electrode. The lithium electrode is made of materials like Lithium Cobalt Oxide, Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide, Lithium Titanate, and more.
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP) Battery is the best among all the different types of lithium batteries. LiFePO4 batteries have a 100% discharge depth, meaning you can use the full battery capacity. For a mobility scooter, this means a longer running range.
Advantages of Lithium Batteries
- Longer lifespan
- High Depth of DischargeD
- High safety
- Low maintenance
- Low self-discharge rate
Disadvantages of Lithium Batteries
What is the Best Battery For a Mobility Scooter?
LiFePO4 is the best battery for a mobility scooter. It costs more than options like gel batteries and sealed lead acid batteries. However, lithium batteries provide significantly superior cost-effectiveness.
Let us have a brief overview of the different types of batteries based on the parameters that matter:
Lifespan: LiFePO4 batteries have the longest lifespan among all different mobility scooter batteries. These batteries last for over 15 years with ease. Sealed lead acid batteries have the worst lifespan. They can require replacement after three to five years.
Cost: Sealed lead acid batteries have the lowest cost among all mobility scooter batteries. However, the cost over the lifespan is quite poor.
Depth of Discharge: LiFePO4 batteries have a 98% to 100% DoD. This makes them the best in terms of operating range. You can use the entire energy stored in the battery. On the other hand, lead batteries have a DoD of only 50%. This means that if you need 50 KWh power, you need a 100 kWh battery.
What are the Important Characteristics of Mobility Scooter Battery?
You will come across many technical terminologies when buying mobility scooter batteries. Some of the important characteristics of mobility scooter batteries are:
Mobility scooter batteries come in many different voltage options. The battery voltage you require is predetermined on the scooter you have. You have to use the exact voltage battery as required. A 12 V battery cannot fulfil a 24 V requirement, and vice versa.
Here are the general voltage rules for mobility scooters:
- 12V Batteries: 12V mobility scooter batteries are used as travel scooter battery. Travel scooters have a small and lightweight design. Therefore, the 12 V battery option is compact and suits the requirement of lightweight scooters.
- 24V Batteries: 24V batteries are a good option for medium-size scooters. These batteries find application in indoor as well as outdoor mobility equipment.
- Higher than 24V: 24V and higher batteries find application in heavier mobility scooters. These scooters are designed exclusively for outdoor use.
While voltage is predetermined, there are multiple options for battery capacity. A higher capacity means the mobility vehicle can work longer and travel more distances. The capacity for mobility scooter batteries starts at 12 Ah. This is the value for very basic scooters. High-performance scooters with speeds of 8mph and more can have more than 70 Ah scooter battery.
The wattage of a mobility scooter will denote the amount of power output it can provide at any given time. A higher wattage means a faster vehicle. This value is less important for mobility scooter batteries than it is for electric vehicles. This is because the speed of mobility scooters is already kept low.
Charging time is dependent on the charging rate of the battery. This rate is listed on the battery label as ‘C-rate’. A higher charging rate means a lower charging time.
The self-discharge rate is the depreciation of battery energy without an external load. Every battery has a certain self-discharge rate. This means that if you keep a battery in storage for a few months at 100% charge, the charge will not be the same when you take it out. For LiFePO4 batteries, the self-discharge rate is as low as 2% per month. For lead batteries, the self-discharge rate can be as high as 4% per week.
Cycle life is the number of charge and discharge cycles a battery can sustain without any major loss in health. A higher cycle life will mean that a battery will last longer. The cycle life for sealed lead acid batteries is only about 1000. However, LiFePO4 batteries can last for over 5000 cycles.
Size and Weight
The size and weight of the mobility scooter battery should fit into the battery compartment. This value should be checked before you buy the battery pack.
Operating Temperature Range
The operating temperature range is not a very important criterion if the battery compartment is well covered. However, if the battery will face direct sunlight for long periods of time, maintaining a safe operating temperature can be important.
Many users focus on the lower cost of mobility scooter batteries and ignore their lifespan. However, this is a major mistake. Saving initially means having to replace your batteries more often. For the user, this means spending multiple times more than they would save.
How Long Does a Mobility Scooter Battery Last?
A mobility scooter battery can last from 1 to 3 years, depending on the type and usage. The lower lifespan is for lead-acid batteries. The higher lifespan comes from LiFePO4 batteries. An important thing to note is that proper maintenance is important for every type of battery. Most manufacturers claim their battery is maintenance-free. However, there is no such thing as a maintenance-free battery, regardless of what the manufacturer claims.
Guide to Choosing a Mobility Scooter Battery
Choosing the right mobility scooter battery requires careful consideration of a few factors. These factors are:
The type of battery will determine most of the important characteristics of the battery pack. Before you decide on anything else, shortlist the type of battery you want.
Compatibility is an important parameter when looking for a new replacement battery. The new battery should be compatible with your mobility scooter specifications. Two important areas to ensure compatibility as voltage and size.
New vs Used Battery
Buying a used battery is never a good idea. This is true even if the used battery you buy is only one year old. Used batteries can have a severe degradation in a shorter time if they are not used properly. Incidents like overcharging and over-discharging can damage the battery irreversibly. You can never know if the used batter you buy has any internal damages.
Ensure that the charger supplied with the mobility scooter meets your requirements. Some users prefer a portable charger, while others like a fixed wall-mounted option. Many batteries, like the Eco Tree Lithium, have multiple charging options. Always use a manufacturer-recommended battery charger.
Safety is a paramount factor to consider. The mobility scooter batteries are near the riders, pillion, and other nearby life and property. Therefore, ensure that you are spending on a reliable and trusted product. For options like lead acid batteries, ensure appropriate venting guidelines are followed.
Mobility scooters are meant for people with health issues. Most users don’t check the maintenance requirements beforehand. They put a lot of unwanted time and effort later on in the excessive maintenance required by the battery packs. Therefore, check the maintenance requirements beforehand.
The warranty on the battery reflects the manufacturer’s faith in the battery. Most batteries come with a 2 to 3-year warranty for lead batteries and around 2 to 4 years for gel batteries. Lithium batteries generally come with a 3-year warranty period. However, Eco Tree Lithium batteries come with a whooping 6-year warranty period.
Choosing a branded battery ensures safe operation for years to come. Buying non-branded options can be cheaper. However, these are unreliable and can break down during operation. In worst-case scenario, they can cause safety hazards such as fire and explosions.
Helpful Tips When Buying a Scooter Battery
The abovementioned factors will be enough when choosing which new battery to buy. Once you have the battery, there are some tips you can follow to prolong its life and ensure a smooth operation for a long time. Here are these tips:
Batteries handle a large amount of energy. Therefore, it is best to have them installed by a trained professional. Even minor errors can cause short circuits, fires, battery damage, and human injury.
The first few uses of the battery are the break-in period. During this period, things like lower range and slower speed are common. It is nothing to worry about. The break-in period usually lasts for up to 15 to 20 cycles. The particular steps to follow in the break-in period vary based on the battery. Follow the manufacturer’s guide for the same.
It is important to know when to charge the battery and how long to charge it. This value depends on the Depth of Discharge of the battery. Lead batteries require charging once the State of Charge comes to 50%.
Lithium batteries require charging below 20% SoC. LiFePO4 can be discharged to less than 2% before they require charging. Read the user manual for the battery to find out when you need to charge it.
Proper battery storage is as important as battery usage. If a battery is not stored with adequate precautions, it can spoil even without load. Read the storage recommended by the manufacturers to find out the best way to store the battery. The recommended storage generally relates to temperature range and storage conditions.
Consider the depth of discharge when calculating the daily distance your mobility scooter can travel. The distance calculation of batteries by manufacturers is done considering the full charge capacity. However, since you should use batteries until the depth of discharge, the distance is usually lesser.
What is the Cost of Mobility Scooter Batteries?
The cost of mobility scooter batteries starts at £100. There are cheaper options available, but they do more harm than good. The price can go up to £550 for high-capacity batteries. If you have lightweight scooters, £180 can be the sweet spot for a 12V, 24 Ah battery.
When to Replace a Mobility Scooter Battery?
The time period for replacing mobility scooter batteries depends on the type of batteries being used. AGM batteries and SLA batteries can ask for replacement under 2000 cycles. A lithium battery can easily last around 2500 cycles before needing a replacement battery. For LiFePO4 batteries, replacement is required after at least 5000 cycles.
Troubleshooting Common Problems With Mobility Scooter Batteries
Batteries in mobility scooters can face occasional faults like any other electrical equipment. Some of the common issues with these batteries are:
- Battery Not Starting: Batteries are heavily affected by temperature. If a healthy battery is not starting, it can be due to cold conditions. Otherwise, it is the result of a flat battery. Another reason can be a break in the circuit. Swap it with other batteries to find if the issue is with the battery or the scooter models.
- Poor Charge Retention: If the battery in the mobility scooter doesn’t retain charge, it is a sign of poor health. Sometimes, the charger can also be at fault.
- Charging Takes Too Long: Longer charging periods can be due to a faulty charger. If a new battery has a longer charging time, it can be due to a lower charge rate.
- Visible Damage or Smell From Battery: A battery with visible damage or a pungent smell is a sign that you must replace it quickly. Such batteries should not be used further.
- Battery Too Hot: Heating is a normal effect for most batteries. However, if the battery seems hotter than usual, it can be a sign of overcharging or a high-temperature environment. Give the battery some time to cool off in such conditions.
Where To Buy Mobility Scooter Battery?
Eco Tree Lithium is one of the best online marketplaces for mobility scooter batteries. It is a reliable brand for LFP batteries globally. Eco Tree Lithium’s products are preferred over other batteries for solar power, electric vehicles, golf carts, marine batteries, and many other applications.
These batteries come with a warranty period of 6 years. There are several levels of protection to ensure the safety of the battery and the riders. Additionally, there is a Battery Management System (BMS) to monitor the vital data of the battery and keep it in optimal condition.
How Mobility Scooter Batteries Differ From Car Batteries?
There is a lot of difference between batteries in mobility scooters and cars. Car batteries are starter batteries designed to provide a surge of current quickly. This current powers the ignition and starts the vehicle. The battery requires charging once it has done its job of starting the car.
On the other hand, mobility scooter batteries provide a relatively low current for a longer duration. This ensures the battery can sustain the power that mobility scooters require to cover the distance.
Buying a new mobility scooter battery can be tough. Spending extra time considering your options helps you make the right decision. Going a little overboard is always better than saving a few bucks for cheap lead battery packs.
The LFP batteries of Eco Tree Lithium will meet your requirements for a long time to come. Browse through the wide range of options and choose the required battery capacity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common queries regarding mobility scooter batteries:
Can you use any battery in your scooter?
No, a mobility scooter requires a compatible deep-cycle battery. The battery should meet the voltage rating of the scooter. Additionally, it should fit into the battery compartment.
Can you use a normal car battery in a mobility scooter?
No, you cannot use a car battery in a mobility scooter. Car batteries are starter batteries designed to provide a surge of current. Mobility scooter batteries are deep-cycle batteries that will provide power for a long time.
Are scooter batteries universal?
No, scooter batteries are not universal. You need to find the appropriate battery for your scooter based on voltage and size compatibility. Once these two factors are compatible, you can use the required battery with identical parameters.