Learn about the batteries in your mobility scooter and where to get a replacement
The batteries in your Pride Mobility scooter literally move you forward. Without them, your scooter is merely a chair with wheels. These batteries don’t get much attention — until now. We’re going to lift the shroud to give the battery its time in the spotlight. We’ll introduce the kinds of batteries that are used in mobility scooters and help you get a replacement, if necessary.
Nearly all Pride Mobility scooters use a sealed lead acid (SLA) battery, save for the few models that use lithium-ion batteries. SLA is a blanket term that is best understood through history.
Lead acid batteries were first developed in 1859 and the technology is still used in three kinds of modern batteries: flooded, absorbent glass mat (AGM) and gel. The technology brings together lead plates and electrolyte (a solution of sulfuric acid and water, also known as battery acid) to make a rechargeable energy source. Thick lead plates are used in deep cycle batteries to create a long, slow discharge perfect for use in a mobility scooter. Thinner lead plates are best for strong, fast surges, like starting a car.
The first advancement in this technology was to seal the battery, stopping electrolyte from leaking or evaporating. This new battery, which became commercially available in the mid-20th century, is called maintenance-free or flooded.
The technology evolved with the discovery of absorbent glass mat. Glass fibers are woven into a mat, soaked with acid and then stacked between the lead plates. This was an improvement to the flooded acid battery because it doesn’t leak, even if the case is cracked. AGM also lets designers install the battery at an angle. Flooded batteries must be mounted flat or the electrolyte won’t properly cover the lead plates.
Gel or gel-cell batteries were commercialized in the 1980s, about a decade after AGM was introduced. As the name suggests, the electrolyte in these batteries is a gel. The gel sticks to the plates, making a solid unit. The premium gel battery is the most structurally sound and resistant to jostling of all lead acid batteries.
With each development, the cost to produce the new batteries went up. Flooded batteries are the cheapest, followed by AGM and then gel. All three are still on the market because some uses don’t need to be mounted at an angle or have extreme vibration resistance.
The owner’s manual and spec sheet for your scooter is a sound resource. It includes a lot of useful information about your battery. If you don’t have your manual, you can find it on our resource page. We also have the specs on each product page on the website. For example, check out the Go-Go Elite Traveller 4-Wheel page. Here you’ll learn that the Go-Go Elite uses two 12-volt AGM or gel batteries.
If you’re struggling to determine what scooter you have, you can find the model number on the seat post. On some Pride Mobility devices, you will find the sticker, easily accessible near the bottom of the post. Others require you to open the base and move the battery pack to see the sticker. The model number will help you find the right manual and spec sheet.
Most of our mobility scooters utilize sealed lead acid technology — either AGM or gel. These deep cycle units are perfect for our purposes, as they produce a slow discharge over time.
A battery’s capacity is measured in amp hours (Ah). Typically, deep cycle batteries will have amp hours printed on the case. The amp hours dictate how much amperage is used in an hour.
When researching batteries you may see Battery Council International (BCI) group numbers. This indicates the physical dimensions of the battery case. For most of our scooters, the group number is U1. U1 batteries have the positive terminal on the left side, while U1R batteries have the positive terminal on the right. The most common applications for U1 and U1R batteries are in medical devices like wheelchairs and scooters along with golf carts, ATVs or lawnmowers.
A scooter’s design is as influential on its speed and capacity as the batteries it runs on. While many of our devices use a 12-volt sealed acid battery, there is a difference in performance. Let’s look closer at a few examples.
The Go-Go Elite Traveller is one of the top models in the travel mobility scooter market. It folds down easily with Pride’s feather-touch disassembly for quick storage in a trunk or airplane.
This power scooter has a 300-pound weight capacity and a top speed of up to 4 mph. It comes standard with two 12 Ah SLA batteries, which provides 8.2 miles per charge. There is an optional upgrade to 18 Ah, which gets 12 miles per charge.
The Victory 10.2 has a 400-pound weight capacity and tops out at 5.2 mph. It also has two battery options: a 22 1/2-pound U1 battery with 31-36 Ah or a 40 Ah battery that weighs 32 1/2-pound. Depending on the battery you choose, your Victory 10.2 will travel between 11 and 13 1/2 miles on a single charge.
The tight-turning and sleek Zero Turn 10 utilizes a 40 Ah battery. The slightly larger battery in the Zero Turn 10 means longer rides. At a 400-pound. capacity, it can get 18 miles per charge. With a 200-pound rider, the Zero Turn 10 can max out at 7.2 mph and travel up to 24 miles on one charge.
Lithium-ion batteries were developed as part of the quest to create stronger, longer-lasting batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are most often associated with portable electronics like cell phones and laptops.
New applications are created regularly. There have even been developments in U1 lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are considerably smaller and lighter than their lead predecessors. A lighter battery is very desirable when building a light scooter.
The iRide is our most travel-friendly scooter. It’s compact, light and simple to stow. With its 250-lb. limit, the iRide has a top speed of 3.7 mph, and can travel 10.3 miles on one charge. The battery on the iRide weighs only 4.3 lbs., a fraction of the SLAs we talked about earlier.
While the batteries in your Pride Mobility scooter are rechargeable, eventually, all batteries lose their charge. If you need to replace it, check your manual and refer back to this blog to figure out what you need. Then, contact your preferred dealer — that’s likely where you purchased your scooter or a company that specializes in batteries.