What’s the Difference Between a Scooter Battery and Car Battery?

Not all batteries are created equal. While the heavy, boxy batteries in your car and on your Pride Mobility scooter might look similar, they are not interchangeable. Both vehicles use sealed lead acid (SLA) battery technology, but the roles are different. You might have wondered what’s the difference between a scooter battery and a car battery?

What is an SLA battery?

Sealed lead acid batteries use lead plates and electrolyte to create a rechargeable energy source. They convert chemical energy into electrical energy. SLA batteries are available in flooded, absorbent glass mat (AGM) and gel. A flooded, or wet, battery has lead plates that are submerged in battery acid, the more common name for electrolyte. These batteries are often used in cars.

Most Pride Mobility scooters use AGM or gel batteries. AGM batteries feature glass fiber mats that are soaked with electrolyte and stacked between lead plates. In gel batteries, the electrolyte is a gel that sticks to the lead plates.

Learn more about different types of batteries here.

How Do Batteries Work?

Batteries provide a mobility device with stored power. The battery in your Pride Mobility scooter and car serve different purposes. The scooter battery is the lone power source, while your car, unless it’s a hybrid or electric vehicle, primarily runs on gasoline. The battery simply helps crank the engine to start and runs accessories like lights and the air conditioner fan.

How Does a Scooter Battery Work?

Pride Mobility scooters use deep-cycle batteries. Gel and AGM batteries provide sustained power for a long period of time. Our scooters are completely electric, so the battery powers everything including the motor, lights and gauges. These batteries are designed to be fully charged and then slowly discharged.

There have been some incredible advances in battery technology over the past few decades, especially when it comes to lithium ion batteries. But non-lithium batteries still offer tremendous power.

For example,  the Revo 2.0 4-Wheel has a 12-volt U1 battery. Fully charged, it has a top speed of 5.2 mph and a range up to 17.8 miles.

How Does a Car Battery Work?

Car batteries do not provide all of the vehicle’s power the way a scooter battery does. They deliver the electricity to the lights and a long list of modern amenities like air conditioning, navigation/entertainment screens, cruise control and more. The battery works with your car’s alternator to deliver power. More on the alternator below.

Cars also use the battery to start. When the car is turned on, the battery sends electricity to the starter motor. Cold-cranking amps (CCA) indicate the strength of the battery. The size depends on the engine type and size as well as the outside temperature. A battery being asked to start a pickup truck in Alaska will need a lot more CCA than one in a compact car in Hawaii.

How to Charge Batteries

Batteries can be charged in a few ways, depending on the use. The other major difference between mobility scooter batteries and car batteries is how they charge.

How Does a Pride Mobility Scooter Recharge?

Our scooters use off-board chargers, which are completely separate from the scooter. The charging unit plugs into a wall outlet and the scooter on opposite ends. The charger converts the alternating current (AC) power from the outlet into direct current (DC) power, stored in the battery. DC power delivers consistent voltage that will keep your scooter running all day.

Read more about off-board and on-board chargers here.

Some scooter models, like the Go-Go Endurance Li, offer even greater reliability, charging speeds and battery life using lithium ion batteries.

How Does a Car Battery Recharge?

A car battery is never plugged in to charge. The battery provides the power to start the car, then the alternator gets involved. This belt-driven device converts mechanical power to electricity. The alternator sends current to the electrical components of the car and recharges the battery. This explains why if your car battery dies, it comes back to life with a jumpstart. The power from the other car, or jump starter, gets the alternator turning, which recharges the battery.

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