It's a good question. There are so many different kinds of scooters - kid's scooters, motor scooters, snow scooters, even some marine scooters. The name was used in the late 1980's by Suzuki, who produced a mobility scooter for the Japanese market and it has stuck. Some think electric buggy or gopher would be a better name. But the name has now morphed around the world into Mobility Scooter - so that's what they are now called.
Electric Scooters vary in price, just like cars - from as low as $1400 right up to $8000. Most people spend $3000 - $5000. As with all things, you get what you pay for. Under $2000 will get you a small compact scooter. If you need something with plenty of pulling power for steep hills, higher speed, or payload capacity, you'll pay between $4500 and $8000, depending on your requirements. If you are after a used scooter, CLICK HERE.
Running costs can be seen in our Cost Comparisons chart below.
Scooter vs Car (costs per year, 100kms per week)
$500 (Car) Nil (Scooter)
$1000-$1500 (Car) $100 (Scooter)
$500-$600 (Car) $50-$60 (Scooter)
$300-500 (Car) $100 (Scooter)
Depreciation (over 5 yrs):
$2000 (Car) $600 (Scooter)
$50 (Car) $250 (Scooter)
Take a look at this video for some ideas
Yes they are. If you compare the accident rates of electric scooters with vehicles, or even pedestrians, scooters come out way on top in the safety stakes. See our Safety Page here for more information.
Mobility Scooters are designed for those that have some sort of impaired mobility, whether it is simply an inability to walk long distances or carry heavy packages, or because of the lack of local public transport, or because of some debilitating physical issue. As such, they are designed for the safe transport of people along footpaths. Everything is automatic and is controlled by the finger throttle - accelleration, speed, braking, stoping, parking. The simplicity of operation makes them easy and safe to control, and the low speed makes the possibility of serious accidents very unlikely. The fail-safe braking system defaults to standstill and almost all scooters can stop from full speed in the length of their wheelbase. Automatic braking on slopes ensures the scooter will only travel downhill at the selected speed. See our page on How Scooters Work for more information.
When you purchase a mobility scooter from Scooters Australia we include a comprehensive safety course as part of your familiarisation training, and issue you with a safety certificate when we are confident you are on top of all the safety issues. We take you for a lengthy trial around your area to make sure you are familiar with all the safety hot spots in your locality and train you how to deal with any that come up.
The only issue you really need to consider is whether the scooter you purchase is Federal Government TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) compliant. There are some mobility scooter importers who import non TGA compliant scooters and these have not gone through the rigorous safety assessment process that is required by the TGA.
This depends on the size of the batteries (measured in amp/hours), the weight of the user, and the steepness of the terrain. The bigger the batteries the further the range. However, a mid sized scooter with standard batteries (around 35 amp hours) will normally go around 25 kms between charges with a 75kg payload on gentle terrain. Larger batteries will give the scooter a range of up to 45 kms. Don’t be fooled by claims outside these figures. Mobility scooter batteries reach their peak performance after about 20 cycles of charge and discharge. Please consult the notes about battery performance in the Specifications page for more information.
All states vary in their regulations for mobility scooter registration. No motor car license is required anywhere, but the Queensland government requires a form of (free) registration. Please check with your state roads authority. The road rules for a scooter are the same as for a pedestrian.
The more powerful scooters will climb a 1:4 slope with an 80kg payload – even more with certain models (some Merits, Afikim and Monarch). Compact scooters will not climb even gentle slopes with more than 60kg payload. What really counts here is the size of the electronic controller rather than the motor or batteries. The same motor using different controllers can have vastly differing performance characteristics, a little like a car with a turbo will outperform a similar size motor.
In general, a mid size scooter with an average payload (say around 75kg) will be able to climb a 1:5 slope. To give you an idea, the public standard for such things as ramps over a railway line, or up to a public building is a 1:14 slope. This means that only when the steepest driveways have to be traversed, or the user is above 100kgs, does an extra powerful scooter need to be specified.
Carrying Capacities are quoted for flat ground only. To give you an idea of what to expect when hills are involved, here's an example of a scooter with a quoted payload of 220 kgs, at select gradients:
WARNING: Small scooters. Irrespective of the manufacturer's published carrying capacity, using small scooters in steeper areas will damage the motor, especially if the person is over 100 kg. Small scooters are designed for flat and gently sloping areas with less than 1:14 slopes for those under 80kg. If a small scooter is used with too much strain on the motor it may damage the motor and void the warranty.
In general, as long as 2 years if looked after - Li-ion batteries a lot longer. It all depends on use and care. The scooter should be charged once a week if not being used. Mobility scooter batteries cannot be overcharged as the charger cuts out automatically. It usually takes about 8 hours to recharge if the meter is low. Batteries are maintenance free: they can be tipped over, etc without spilling and they don’t need to be topped up with water. In general, the life of a deep cycle battery is determined by its quality and by how many cycles it has been through - usually in the vicinity of 200-300 cycles if discharged fully, but more cycles if it is only partially discharged. If the battery is discharged by only 20% and then recharged, it will last longer than one that is discharged by 60% and recharged - i.e. it will have more cycles. Batteries also last longer if they are stored in a charged state, not a discharged state.
So it is best if your scooter is charged every night after use. Leaving a battery in a discharged state damages the battery. It is also better to leave the charger “ON” at all times if the scooter is not in use. Batteries reach their peak performance after about 20 cycles.
Warning: Do not use a general purpose charger as this will damage the batteries. Scooter chargers have a three stage charging cycle for cyclic batteries, but car chargers do not. Li-ion batteries must have their own dedicated charger.
All manufacturers recommend 12 monthly services. A basic service takes about 1-2 hours. Services can be done at the client’s home or at the workshop. Scooters Australia offers home servicing facilities in all capital cities and in many regional centres throughout Australia using our mobile workshop vans. We also repair all makes of mobility scooter as long as the parts are still available, even when it is not one of our brands. Our technicians are trained in both electronics and mechanics.
Scooters that are used heavily, like golf scooters or carrying heavier payloads or in steep hilly areas, should be given a major overhaul every 3 - 4 years.
Pictured is one of our technicians performing an on-site service. Regular servicing is the best way to protect your scooter and your warranty, and guards against inconvenient breakdown.
WARNING: Servicing your scooter every 12 months helps prevent serious accidents and protects your warranty. It can also save you large sums of money. CLICK HERE for a very sobering story on what might happen if you don't get your scooter serviced.
Take a look at this axle (right) and you can see why mobility scooters need regular servicing by an authorised technician.
Note: Scooters purchased over the internet will not be serviced by any of our stores unless the scooter is purchased from Scooters Australia and has a valid serial number listed on our data base. This applies particularly to Luggie scooters.
Punctures seldom occur. But if they do, they can be fixed by local garage, most road services (eg NRMA, RACQ, RACV, etc) or by a Scooters Australia service person. Some models come with solid foam filled tyres, thus eliminating the problem. However, the ride is a bit rougher. We have available a system of puncture proofing that can be installed during pre-delivery for approximately $80 per scooter. Tyres and tubes can be purchased from Scooters Australia.
In general terms there is little difference between three or four wheel mobility scooters in terms of stability. Generally width and low centre of gravity are the most important factors for any scooter. Three wheel scooters are more manoeuvrable in a tight situation and have more leg room, but a four wheel scooter is marginally more stable in rougher terrain or where there are tight corners on a slope. If a person has had experience in riding a bicycle in their youth, a three wheeler will probably be more useful due to its versatility. However, if a person is not confident with driving or balance, then a four wheel scooter would be more suitable because of its better stability.
There's also the compromise Hybrid scooter which has a double front wheel axle (see Everyday Scooters page).
Scooters are inherrantly safe and easy to drive - they have to be, as they must pass stingent safety requirements for the European market. But just make sure your scooter is approved by the TGA in Australia. There are scooters on the market that have not passed all the requirements.
However, it doesn't matter whether you use a three or four wheel scooter, if you try to jump objects like this ditch (pictured left), you'll inevitably come to grief! Like all things, common sense is the best policy.
Unfortunately there is more than one way to rate the power of a motor. And there is also the issue of the output of the electronics with which the scooter is fitted, and the number of brushes in the motor (a bit like the number of cylinders on a car). The bigger the amp rating of the electronics, the more curent is sent to the motor. Two scooters with the same motors will perform differently with different electronics. So this makes competing claims difficult to assess. (See the section: “How Scooters Work”). Additionally, a four pole motor will deliver more pulling power than a two pole motor. But in the end, the best way is to test drive a scooter to see if it does the job you want it to.
At Scooters Australia you can TRY BEFORE YOU BUY.
All Scooters Australia outlets offer a free no obligation home demonstration on selected models to find the most suitable scooter for your needs*. When you talk to one of our staff they will ask you for some personal details and the kind of use you want from your scooter and will then choose 3 or 4 scooters to show you, in your own home location.
That way you can get the feel for whether a mobility scooter is suitable for you. It's a totally free service because we believe that you should always try before you buy. But if you want to come to one of our showrooms to try out a selection, that's OK too. Just give us a call on the 1300 number and you will connect to your nearest store.
*Not available on portable scooters in the small scooter range.
Scooters Australia provides a comprehensive training course once you have purchased a scooter.
We go through the basics of electric scooter controls, use, care, and provide full safety training with a certificate of competency at the conclusion. We do this training at the time of delivery to ensure that you are familiar with the access and safety issues in your neighbourhood.
In most situations, delivery of mobility scooters will be cost free in metropolitan areas and major regional centres. On rare occasions where the location is remote, there may be a delivery charge, open to negotiation with the store manager. Depending on location, there may be a small cost for delivery of liftchairs. Most home health equipment will be delivered by courier at a negotiated cost.
Yes, most Scooters Australia stores can help to arrange comprehensive insurance for your mobility scooter through Blue Badge Insurance Australia.
To find out more, visit www.bluebadgeinsurance.com.au
And as for finance, Scooters Australia have an arrangement whereby a No Interest Ever scheme can put you in a new mobility scooter even if you are on the age pension.
Manufacturers offer from 1 to 3 year's warranty. This covers all parts and labour (including the electronics), but only if the scooter is delivered to the workshop. If a call-out is required to either repair the scooter or bring it back to the workshop, a call-out fee is charged after the first 30 days. Naturally this warranty does not cover misuse or normal wear and tear, and is limited if the customer has not had the product serviced by an authorised repairer. Some companies promise a three year warranty but they exclude the expensive bits: motors and electronics. So read the warranty carefully. Please consult the warranty documents at the end of the Owner's Manual for more details. Scooters Australia warranty conforms with the Competition and Consumer Regulations 2010. See our standard warranty here.
Warranty may not cover the scooter if it has not been properly service, like the motor (pictured) that has been burnt out through lack of proper maintenance.