Let us just get one fact out there: electric scooters (and their electric scooter motor) are not like cars. Americans are really funny when it comes to their vehicles. We place a higher value on our cars because of the engines and because of how fast we can go on the open road. And just because an electric scooter has a motor, a lot of users all of a sudden place a lot of value on the speed and the distance that the scooter has to offer. In the long run, when it comes to relevance and safety, is speed and distance really that important compared to other features?
Review the following case study:
Janine is a 57 year old female who resides in an independent living center. For several years, she has lived functionally with paranoid schizophrenia, Type II diabetes, and the aftermath symptoms of a Right PCA (Post Cerebral Arterial) stroke. Due to limited strength and movement in her left leg and left arm, Janine has extreme difficulty with walking and propelling a manual wheelchair. 3 months ago, she purchased an electric scooter. Recently, she started experiencing some trouble with safely using the scooter outdoors. She admits that the only reason she purchased the scooter was because it advertised a speed of 5 miles per hour, faster than all of the other scooters she was researching. Additionally, she could travel up to 17 miles on a fully charged battery which she found useful considering her forgetfulness in charging the chair. Although the chair offers her great speed and distance, she still gets the scooter stuck in rough surfaces and has to call her case worker frequently to come pick her up. The captain seat is also uncomfortable for her back and the arm-rests are not quite wide enough and rub against her hips.
In Janine’s case, optimal speed and distance for a chair mean absolutely nothing if she is experiencing discomfort and inconvenience in other areas. So once again, are speed and distance really that important?
No, and here’s why:
High Speeds Pose Increased Outdoor Dangers
As convenient as it is to get from point A to point B in a timely fashion, it is not always the safest to speed over unpredictable terrain. It is understandable that the electric scooter user doesn’t want to be moving at a snail’s pace when crossing an intersection either. The chair needs gumption for smooth, outdoor surfaces. However, electric scooter users have to consider every gradient and every material: curbs, sidewalks, thresholds, gravel, mud, grass, pavement, puddles, potholes, drainage grates, gutters, and ramps to name a few. It makes sense to up the speed through the electric scooter motor if the scooter needs to scale a reasonably sized hill. If the user attempts to increase the speed in order to take the chair over a bump that it wasn’t designed for, the user risks high-centering, tipping, or damaging the chair. Rushing through mud or wet surfaces could cause the chair to spin out and possibly throw the user from the seat.
An Electric Scooter Motor And High Speeds Pose Increased Indoor Dangers
If the customer plans on using the scooter for primarily indoor surfaces, then speed shouldn’t even be a factor. Successful navigation usually requires precision and accuracy in the turning radius and maneuverability of the chair in tight spaces. The user would want to be able to safely get around furniture, corners, hallways, doorways, bathroom and bedroom spaces, kitchen and dining areas, etc. Additionally, they would need to do so without taking out chunks of the walls or damaging the chair. Distance wouldn’t be much of a concern of an electric scooter motor either since it is likely that the user will have the charger available at the home if the battery runs low.
Optimal Distance Only Occurs If The Battery Is Taken Care Of
Like a cellphone or a laptop, an electric scooter requires a battery that requires consistent charging alongside the electric scooter motor. Too much charge or not enough charge will affect decrease the total distance. So when product information states that a scooter will go a whole 30 miles before requiring a charge, the customer needs to take into consideration several things: if the battery was fully charged to begin with, if the user takes care of the battery by not overcharging it, and if the battery is new or old.
Electric Scooters Weren’t Designed For Road Trips
As mentioned previously, electric scooters are not cars. Even if the electric scooter motor’s product information boasts about its distance, the scooter will never function like a car. Wheelchairs and electric scooters enhance mobility when walking is no longer a viable option. If the user is out a car and has to make long community outings to doctor’s appointments or to the grocery store, then they need to supplement their scooter route with public transit, accessible vans, rides from friends/family, etc.
Other Elements Of The Chair Must Be Considered
Speed and distance have little impact on other essential features of a scooter including body support and comfort. It is pretty neat that scooters these days display great speed and distances through their electric scooter motor, but the rider won’t care how fast they are driving if the chair is unbearable to sit in. Customers need to consider the back support, the seat, available seat cushions, width of the arm-rests (i.e. preventing the edges from rubbing on the thighs), lateral supports, safety belts, foot-rests, etc. Individuals who have severely limited mobility or demonstrate the inability to independently transfer are going to expect sitting for long periods of time. Consider the scooter as a whole when purchasing it to provide an enjoyable ride.
- Includes battery, charger and Interchangeable color panels; Quick and easy disassembly. The turning radius is 45.5 inches
- Armrests are padded and adjustable; Height-adjustable swivel seat with fold-down backrest
- Delta tiller is easily adjustable; Ergonomic throttle control with easy free wheel operation
- Quick connect batteries; Comes with large, plastic carry basket. Front and rear wheels: 8 x 2 inches flat-free, climbing angle: 6 degree
- Flat-free, non-marking tires and anti-tip wheels. Ground Clearance: 2.5 inch, Motor: 24V x 270W x 4700 rpm