The NEC Energy Solutions Blog

3 tips to help you deploy batteries in a wheeled mobility solution

Lithium ion batteries are beginning to show up all over the place, and wheeled mobility systems are a prime example of where the technology is paying dividends. Wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility solutions can be used to help the handicapped or disabled take control over their lives by providing them freedom of movement. They can also be used to support a variety of other use cases, including helping people move around large areas where walking is not efficient enough, but an automobile, moped or motorcycle would be too bulky and expensive.

Lithium ion batteries are emerging as a key solution for these wheeled mobility solutions because they offer cost-efficient energy storage to power these devices, can be charged quickly and hold their charge for an extended period of time. New battery technologies are emerging all the time, but there are a few issues you should keep in mind regardless of which battery cell type you are considering:

1. Emphasize safety
People are going to be using the wheeled mobility solutions that a battery will be housed in. You cannot afford to cut any corners on safety and put people at risk. This is true in every application of wheeled mobility systems, but is especially evident in electric wheelchairs or other solutions for the handicapped or disabled, as they may not be able to escape in the event of a battery malfunction that creates safety problems.

The battery cell itself can have an impact on user safety, but the integration system that allows the cell to interact with the energy infrastructure of the mobility solution has the greatest impact on user safety. A good integration system will provide a variety of safety functions that ensure users will not be taking on any risk from the battery.

2. Stick with a small size and light weight
A large or heavy battery can severely limit the design of the wheeled mobility solution you are putting into place. If you are manufacturing a line of wheelchairs, scooters or similar devices, you want a battery that is light and small enough to give you design flexibility without sacrificing energy delivery. A lighter battery can make it much easier to create an optimal machine, allowing you to push specifications while meeting your power needs with ease.

"Lithium ion batteries are emerging as a key solution for wheeled mobility solutions."

3. Make sure the battery has a short charge time
Users won't always be able to leave their battery charging for an extended period. Unless a person is cycling multiple batteries, it is extremely helpful to have a system in place that is capable of charging relatively quickly. Even if you get into a cycle of having the battery used in the day and charging overnight, it is useful to have that system charge enough that it can be used in the event of an emergency. 

Wheeled mobility solutions present a wide range of challenges for manufacturers, and choosing the right battery type is a major issue. Following these tips can give you a foundation when going into battery discussions.

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