While forms of chairs on wheels have been around for centuries, and motorized wheelchairs have been around since the early 1900s, electric wheelchairs were first mass-produced in the 1950s. These mobility aids are also known as power chairs and electric powered wheelchairs (EPWs). Although data are limited, studies (2, 7) have estimated that between 5-23% of wheelchair users have electric wheelchairs.

The average wheelchair user spends about 10 hours in his or her wheelchair daily (8). Most power wheelchairs can travel over 10 miles before the battery becomes exhausted under ideal conditions (6).

Public transit systems may wish to consider offering riders the option of charging their wheelchairs while using transit services. Wheelchair charging stations have been set up in all sorts of buildings and public areas, including schools, courthouses, convention centers, chambers of commerce, farmers markets, libraries, parks, hospitals, malls, and even Disney World. Charging stations can be installed at transit facilities and inside transit vehicles. Scooters and other mobility devices with smaller batteries can also benefit from these charging stations, perhaps even more than power wheelchairs, because they have smaller batteries and can deplete and recharge faster than the larger batteries on the power wheelchairs.

While wheelchair battery chargers for individual use can easily be bought for under $100, wheelchair charging stations can cost anywhere from $450-$10,000. Keep reading….