A mobility scooter has a seat over three, four or now five wheels, a flat area or foot plates for the feet, and handlebars or a delta-style steering arrangement in front to turn one, two or three steerable wheels. The seat may swivel to allow access when the front is blocked by the handlebars. Mobility scooters are usually battery powered. A battery or two is stored on board the scooter and is charged via an onboard or separate battery charger unit from standard electric power. Gasoline-powered scooters may also be available in some countries, though they are rapidly being replaced by electric models. User-powered propelled by a lever used in a push-pull rowing motion to provide exercise and mobility at the same time. The tiller, with forward/reverse directions and speed controls, is the steering column central at the front of the scooter. The tiller may contain other features also, for example, a speed limiter, lighting controls (for nighttime use) and turn signals. A battery use indicator is also often included. Forward/reverse direction can be controlled by thumb paddles, finger controls, or a switch. There are two types of mobility scooters: front-wheel drive (FD) or rear-wheel drive (RD). The front-wheel drive is usually a smaller device and is best used indoors. Rider weight capacity is a minimum of 170 pounds (77 kg) generally upwards to 980 pounds (440 kg) maximum. The rear-wheel drive is used both indoors and outdoors with rider weight capacity of 350 pounds (160 kg). A heavy duty rear-drive can carry up to 500 pounds (230 kg), varying by manufacturer. The first crude mobility scooter was introduced in 1954 and was billed by Sears as an electric wheelchair, but it had more in common with mobility scooter with its large seat, extra large battery capacity and three-wheel design. It was not a commercial success.
Mobility scooters come in various types:
User powered, small, light manual scooters for travel, without battery or motor, user powered propelled by a CLD (Central Lever Drive) in a push-pull rowing motion to provide mobility and exercise at the same time.
small, light scooters for travel, which fold or are easily disassembled into smaller parts for transport;
large, heavy scooters for rough outdoor terrain;
mid-range scooters, which are intended for both indoor and outdoor use.
slow and steady, used for shopping in stores and other places.
Usually mid-range mobility scooters have a speed of about 5 to 7 mph (8 to 11 km/h).
A mobility scooter is a mobility aid equivalent to a wheelchair but configured like a motorscooter. It is often referred to as a power-operated vehicle/scooter or electric scooter as well.