Gel batteries are currently widely used in mobility equipment as opposed to Lithium batteries. Over the years many of our clients have started to become interested in Lithium as an alternative battery option.
A Lithium battery weighs around a third of its conventional Lead-Acid companion. This means that the mobility scooter may not have the required weight to counterbalance it, but the lack of weight does have the added advantage of allowing the mobility scooter to move efficiently with less draw on the motor and battery.
Lithium batteries have a different chemistry construction to the Lead-Acid battery and will charge faster. When a Lead-Acid battery is being replaced by a Lithium battery in a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair, the battery charger will likely need to be replaced with one that is compatible with Lithium technology.
Monitoring State of Charge
One of the trickiest things to monitor with a Lithium battery is when the battery is nearing the end of charge. A Lead-Acid battery will gradually slow down its performance, unlike a Lithium battery which goes from 100% action to dead instantaneously. This activity is generally displayed on the mobility scooter gauge.
When it comes to Lithium batteries, unless battery gauge has been adapted to be Lithium battery compatible, this may pose a risk as the mobility scooter user will not be aware of the current state of charge.
Cost is around three to four times the price of a standard Lead-Acid battery. Nonetheless, a well-designed and correctly manufactured Lithium battery will outlast a Lead-Acid battery recovering costs in both functionality and performance over time.
While the cost may be high, the longevity is very evident in previous installations. One client installed Lithium batteries into a mobility scooter and for the first time, he replaced the mobility scooter and not the battery! His client was super impressed with the life he got from them.
Mobility scooter owners who are looking to install Lithium battery technology into their equipment must ensure that they use a reputable mobility scooter specialist. This will assist in ensuring nothing unsafe occurs as Lithium technology can pose serious risks if not specified, manufactured, installed and maintained correctly.
As you can see from the above points, there are distinct advantages with installing Lithium battery technology into mobility scooters or electric wheelchairs. Users will generally find that advanced Lead-Acid battery technology will deliver the best value for money solution. That being said, Lithium battery technology is continuously being developed. The expectation is for this technology to become more affordable in the future.
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