Should You Buy a Collapsible Mobility Scooter?
There is a fashion for people wanting to own a collapsible mobility scooter at this time.
Though on the face of it these folding mobility scooters seem like a good idea with their ability to fold with a simple motion. This, however, is not the entire story.
Firstly, people think of them as travel scooters that you take to the airport, fold up, and they go straight in the cargo hold of the plane. You fly to your destination and recover your scooter and off you go.
The reality is far removed from the dream.
Almost every one of this type of collapsible mobility scooter use lithium ion cell batteries.
There is an issue with this type of battery being transported in the unpressurised hold of a plane, quite simply in this environment they become potential bombs. They need to transported in the pressurised cabin of the plane.
So, before you send your scooter to be placed in the cargo hold you must remove the batteries, which probably leaves quite a long way from where you will be boarding the plane yourself and with no scooter.
At this point you may not have realised you should have requested the loan of a wheelchair. If you have done this your loan will be cost free in UK airports. However, you are very likely to have to pay in many airports in other countries for this facility, booking a loan may be complicated and the service may simply just not be available at all.
Then you need to consider that someone then has to carry the battery to the plane. There will very likely be more than one battery making them even more cumbersome to carry.
So, that is the only issue?
Well no, you now have a heavy battery you need take on the plane.
This means they will be considered to be part of your carry-on baggage allowance and, as they will be fairly bulky, this could cause you problems.
For example, if you were to fly by Thomas Cook Airlines the baggage allowance is 6kg. This seems plenty until you consider a perfectly normal battery weight could be around 3kg so half your allowance is already gone!
Even if you are allowed to exceed your carry-on luggage allowance the excess weight will incur a cost, this can be quite high, from £10 per kg and up.
Your only alternative would be to carry fewer personal items in your hand luggage.
In direct contrast to this, our entire range of Quingo mobility scooters are fully approved for transport in aeroplane cargo holds with the batteries in the scooter.
A further issue with Lithium batteries is if you allow them to become fully discharged you will never be able to charge them again and they will be costly to replace.
In order to make a collapsible mobility scooter there are many desirable features that are just not possible. Compromise is an inherent part of the design. Needing to pivot in the middle means a collapsible mobility scooter will likely have fixed dimensions which means there may be no ability to adjust the scooter for your comfort.
One of the bulkiest parts of any scooter is the seat. On a collapsible mobility scooter this frequently where one of the biggest compromises to your comfort is made. Their seats will very likely have no form of adjustment and any padding will be scarce and consequently not overly effective. So, if your mobility impairing condition comes with associated pain issues, this could well be a very real problem in using a collapsible mobility scooter.
“It’s lovely and it’s making a lot of difference. Before I got my scooter I had been stuck indoors for 2 years. Now I can go out whenever I want to. The seat is brilliant. It’s so comfortable and it’s great when it spins round! I tried another make of scooter before I bought my Toura. It was a fold down machine but I couldn’t lift it so it was no good for me. And the seat, compared to mine was blooming awful; so uncomfortable.” – Mr Brown
In order to be able to fold into a compact package most of these scooters feature very small wheels and, in a lot of cases, solid tyres. This makes for a rough ride, on even mildly uneven surfaces, and makes them susceptible to getting stuck in quite small potholes.
Because you have to be able lift the entire scooter (which may in itself be an issue) these folding mobility scooters have undergone a severe weight reduction plan.
This can lead to a lowering of rigidity, and therefore stability, and many describe them as feeling wobbly or rickety.
They tend towards having a low weight capacity due to use of the lightest materials available and limited battery power. This limited battery power can also have a major impact on the available range increasing the chances of you becoming stranded.
Almost all of them will offer you little or no suspension compounding the issue in ride comfort caused by the wheels and inadequate seating.
Even though they are supposed to offer easy portability they tend to be fairly large when folded meaning they may not fit in smaller car boots.
Add in the less than ideal posture due to an inability to adjust the scooter and you have a recipe for discomfort and strain.
There is one final thing to consider if you are thinking of buying a collapsible mobility scooter. They were never conceived to be used as a daily mobility solution, they are meant to be used on the odd occasion and purely as a convenience. They should never be expected to fulfil the role of a dedicated form of daily transport.
Our range of five-wheel Quingos suffer from none of these disadvantages and we suggest you take a look at our two models that have been specifically designed for portability, while maintaining usability and comfort, the Ultra and the Flyte, before you buy a mobility solution that may well prove to be of little use to you.
There is no point in owning a collapsible mobility scooter if the only benefit it gives you is its ability to be easily folded to be stored in your under stairs cupboard!
Only our Quingo scooters feature the advanced Quintell™ designs that offer you the core benefits of enhanced stability, agility, comfort and safety.
There is perhaps an even better solution to the collapsible mobility scooter and that is the folding electric wheelchair.