How long do folding electric wheelchair batteries last?
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Before buying a folding electric wheelchair, there are several different questions you may ask. One of these is how long the batteries will last on your new folding electric wheelchair.
This is a perfectly reasonable question to ask. After all you don’t want to find your self stuck with a flat battery.
So, how long do folding electric wheelchair batteries last? The answer is: the distance can vary. However, it will usually range between 4 miles and 25 miles of continuous travel.
There are lots of different folding electric wheelchair models on the market. Each chair is different, and some will have a much longer range than others.
In this article we will be looking at a couple of examples. These are chairs from both ends of the scale. We will also discuss some other things to consider when looking at batteries in a new wheelchair.
How long do you need your wheelchair batteries to last?
The real question you should be asking, is how long do you need your batteries to stay charged for? Essentially, the range your wheelchair needs, is going to depend on your own personal needs.
For example, do you want a chair for short daily trips to the shops and around your local area? Or are you looking for a chair that can be taken on long days out, where you will be covering large distances?
You will usually find that chairs with longer battery life are slightly more expensive. So, if you only need a wheelchair for performing your daily activities, a shorter charge might be adequate. In this type of scenario something like a Pride I-Go, which we reviewed here might be a good option.
The I-Go has a charge that lasts up to 6 hours, so it is great for indoor use and short, local outdoor use.
At the other end of the scale you have chairs like the 10J from Better Products for Disabled. This chair has a much longer range of 25miles, making it much better for longer use. This could include long days out with family and friends, or even long trips to and from the shops.
The great thing about having 25 miles of range, is you are going to struggle to completely run the battery down in almost any scenario.
According to the owners at Better Products for Disabled, they have had one of their 10J chairs complete the London marathon. Whats more they claimed that it still had charge to spare once the race was finished. A marathon is 26 miles, so this lasted more than its 25 miles battery limit and it still had charge.
Some other advantages of longer battery Life
There are some other advantages to having a wheelchair with more powerful batteries. These are usually performance based.
As we mentioned a less powerful folding electric wheelchair, will only be suitable over short distances. It will also have some other limitations due to a weaker battery. These include:
- They may not be as good at handling steep inclines and hills. Due to having weaker batteries you could find that once you hit an incline the performance will drop slightly. This could include a drop in speed and in some cases, it could become more difficult to manoeuvre.
- Not as good at dealing with bumpy or loose terrain. This is another thing you should consider before buying a chair that is less powerful. A lot of the lower range battery chairs are only really designed for smoother surfaces. They will be great around the shops and on smooth pavements. But once you hit some loose gravel or an old cobble road you may run into problems.
- Some weaker models may even struggle with moving over grass, which could become an issue if you enjoy visiting places like your local park.
Basically, it comes back to what you need the chair for. Do you just want something that can get you around in your day to day life? Or do you want something that is more suitable for a variety of activities?
How long do folding electric wheelchair batteries last before they need replacing?
Most Folding electric wheelchair use Lithium-ion batteries. This tends to be the standard and there are quite a few good reasons for this:
- They are more eco-friendly than standard batteries. This is mainly due to much lower level of heavy, toxic metals, which are commonly present in other types of battery.
- Lithium batteries are generally smaller, lighter and more compact than other types of batteries. This makes them much easier to handle and store
- Despite being smaller and lighter Lithium-ion batteries have a higher capacity than other types of battery. This means they have better energy output potential, which gives increased performance. Plus, the greater capacity means they last longer.
- They are also easier to maintain than other types of rechargeable batteries. One of the main reasons for this is Lithium-Ion batteries don’t have a recharge memory. This means the battery doesn’t need fully running down before recharge. You can charge it at any point, and it will not affect the output over time.
- Finally, Lithium-ion batteries just last longer. You can get more charge cycles meaning they do not need replacing as often.
In general, folding electric wheelchair batteries will last 2-3 years before they need replacing. This is regardless of the amount of use they receive. So, if you leave your battery in storage for 3 years it will need replacing. Essentially, they have a shelf life, and this will expire regardless of the amount of use they receive.
For batteries that are getting regular use, you should expect anywhere from 300 to 500 charge cycles before you will need to replace them.
As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t see any drop in performance in at least the first year of use.
Can you extend the life of your wheelchair batteries?
As we mentioned, your batteries will have a shelf life and at some point, you will need to replace them. However, there are a few things you can do to try and extend the life of your batteries.
Below is a list of things you should consider when trying to prolong your electric wheelchair batteries:
- Try and keep your batteries at, or below room temperature. Constant exposure to higher temperature will make the batteries capacity reduce over time. This can be quite significant at higher temperatures.
For example storage at 0 degrees Celsius should see batteries maintain roughly 94% charge capacity after 1 year. If you were to increase this to 40 degrees, the capacity would drop to nearer 65%.
It is more likely that you will be storing your batteries at room temperature. This is generally 20-22 degrees and will see your batteries at around 85% capacity after one year.
In general, you should just try and store your batteries somewhere cool. A cooler room would be ideal. Plus, you should keep them away from hot areas like radiators, or airing cupboards.
- Consider opting for longer life batteries. This comes back to the main question: How long do folding electric wheelchair batteries last? And this is one of the advantages of longer life batteries. Whilst they will have the same lifespan (2-3 years). They will need charging much less. This means that charge cycles are less frequent and the performance should remain higher over time.
- If you need to store your battery for a prolonged period reduce the charge down to roughly 40%. This will reduce oxidation of lithium-ion and mean your battery will last longer. You could also store your battery somewhere cold like the fridge.
So, how long do folding electric wheelchair batteries last?
The truth is there are many different folding electric wheelchairs available in the UK. You will be able to find chairs with a wide range of battery life and the one you choose will depend on your own personal needs.
One thing that all batteries have in common is they don’t last forever. But hopefully our tips on maintaining your Lithium-ion batteries were helpful.
Hopefully you have found the information here useful. if you have any questions about this article, or folding electric wheelchairs, please leave them in the comments below.