Mobility scooters have been an integral part of the mobility world since 1968. Since then they have been a reliable alternative for those who wanted more independence and freedom, than they would get with a chair.
Yet as with everything there was a trade of for this newfound freedom and versatility. That is that unlike their wheelchairs, scooters are a large and bulky vehicle.
Complications from this can include storage requirements, down time and transportation issues.
This became most clear when planning holidays and day trips. Often scooter users must leave their scooter at home, in favour of a stairlift rental travel chair.
Adding to the complexity were airlines. Even if you could use your scooter abroad many airlines have strict weight and size restrictions.
The added expense of this is very inconvenient. More so as your mobility scooter is a large investment so having to pay out more for a rental is less than desirable.
Yet this has been one of the driving forces behind Mobility Scooter design and development for years.
It all boiled down to two simple needs.
How do we make Mobility Scooters as practical as wheelchairs?
At the same time how do we maintain all their perks such as greater reliability, performance and comfort?
The answer became the lightweight folding mobility scooter.
These scooters were the first to feature a unique folding design, something which wheelchairs had offered for decades.
But here we had a new range of scooters with the idea of matching the traditional wheelchair practicality.
But how do they go about doing this, well here are a few reasons how and their benefits.
When you look at most scooters, they don’t seem like the sort of thing that would be easy to lift.
After all they are designed to be as sturdy and reliable as possible. These are two things that don’t translate into lightness.
Take the 8mph models as an example. Many of these models’ weight over 156.5kg, which is hardly something you could pick up and carry around.
Yet, this is where the folding mobility scooter shines. Many makes such as the Mobie Plus feature an aluminium frame.
This makes them incredibly light, with few folding models weighing more than 33kg. This makes them much easier to lift and handle.
This lightweight frame is then paired with a folding system built into the scooters design. Depending on the model this can either be manual or an automatic folding function.
Regardless each mechanism provides unheard of practicality for a mobility scooter user.
Before this we had portable mobility, scooters which were designed to fit within a car boot. But these were models that had to be disassembled and re assembled every time.
But folding scooters can fit within most family hatchbacks, without the need to assemble or disassemble them.
This means that day trips and day to day tasks can be enjoyed with the comfort and familiarity of your regular scooter.
Beyond this the foldable design also makes the scooter very easy to store away when not in use, such as when charging the battery.
This helps keep the scooter from taking up space but also helps keep it safe from any damage.
As is the custom for most mobility scooters, many models on the market are powered by lead acid or gel batteries.
These are reliable and efficient options that have become the standard for many scooter manufacturers.
Despite this they did present a problem when it came to portability. Lead acid mobility scooter batteries are quite large and are often positioned under the seat of the scooter. This generates to their often-bulky design as the scooter need to be designed around the large battery packs.
However, this all changed with the advancement in lithium ion batteries.
The emergence of the folding mobility scooter was made possible thanks to this technology.
For starters lithium ion batteries are incredibly slender, with many examples being only 3.5cm in height.
Now with these compact batteries, scooters could be designed with a completely flat floor.
This enables the scooter to be able to fold away without the need for disassembly.
What’s more the use of lithium ion batteries does not affect longevity or reliability.
A standard lithium battery pack can offer up to 20 miles of range, dependant on the weight of the vehicle and the user.
Along with this the lithium batteries used are very easy to install thanks to the integrated design, simply place and push and you are away.
This easy to install design also means batteries can be swapped with ease, allowing you to have a spare on charge for even greater versatility.