A new carbon fiber scooter will make it easier for people with disabilities to travel by air, bus, cruise ship, or car.
The AirFold Pro (£3,999, or currently about $4,379), made by Drive DeVibliss Healthcare, is an auto-folding model that weighs less than 44 pounds (20 kg) without batteries. It’s the company’s lightest scooter to date.
Even so, it doesn’t skimp on features. These include:
two lithium ion 25.2 volt, 5 amp-hour battery packs that can be charged onboard an airplane if needed, making airline travel a bit easier
a maximum range of 9.3 miles (14.9 km)
a 55-inch (140 cm) turning radius
solid tires that won’t go flat
a 4 mph top speed
the ability to fold automatically in 20 seconds
an LCD screen that displays speed, battery power, travel time, and mileage
a height-adjustable tiller
headlights and footboard lights
a padded seat and backrest
an automatic electromagnetic braking system
“The AirFold Pro has been developed following an intensive period of research into the latest materials and technological advancements in our industry,” the company says. “The result is a scooter that has an innovative, corrosion resistant & super lightweight carbon fiber frame that can be folded automatically in seconds, all elements to truly enhance the user experience.”
Three Activation Methods, Two-Stage Folding
The scooter can be activated by using a key, a remote control, or a contactless card. It can fit in the trunks of most vehicles and is ideal for flights, bus trips, and cruises.
It folds in two stages as a safety measure in case the folding mechanism is accidentally activated. Closed, it’s 38.2 inches (97 cm) long, 26.8 inches (68 cm) high, and 11.4 inches (29 cm) wide.
The AirFold Pro “has several exciting new features, and it’s ultra lightweight at only 20kg with the batteries removed,” says Adam Naylor, the company’s head of regional dealers. “It’s a fantastic product to demonstrate, especially the contactless card activation, pulsating coloured sidelights, [and] easy battery removal. Even the way it folds is a little different to many other folding scooters.”
The scooter recharges with a USB cable through an on-board charging port.
“The AirFold Pro has been developed following an intensive period of research into the latest materials and technological advancements in our industry,” says Dallas Newsham, Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare’s international category manager.
“Following the success of the AirFold Powerchair and the positive customer feedback we received, we were determined to develop a scooter that would follow in its footsteps,” he says. “The result is an innovative scooter that has a corrosion resistant and super lightweight carbon fiber frame that can be folded automatically in seconds, all elements to truly enhance the user experience.”
Other Travel Scooters
Here are some other folding power scooters for about the same price to give you an idea of what competing models offer compared to the AirFold Pro. In the coming weeks, look for additional posts about scooters at different price points, including budget models.
Three-Wheel Lightweight Portable Power Travel Scooter ($3,997): This scooter weighs a bit more than the AirFold Pro, but it has a higher top speed at about 15 mph. Like the AirFold Pro, it can fold up small enough to fit into a car trunk or closet. However, the three-wheeled design is inherently less stable, and it doesn’t have airline-friendly batteries.
MaGiLL 3-Wheel Mobility Scooter–Scooter Mobility Folding Electric Mobility Scooter ($4208): This is also a three-wheeled model. It weighs considerably more than the AirFold Pro at 77 pounds (35 kg), but it also has a much longer range of about 25 miles (40 km). The tires are inflatable, which means it will have a softer ride than the AirFold Pro with its solid tires, but there’s a risk of puncture.
Portable Travel Scooter 4-Wheel Foldable Electric Mobility Scooter ($3,941): This scooter has four wheels, which makes it more stable than those with three. It folds in just five seconds and can fit in a car trunk. It will go about 9-15 miles on a charge. Unlike the AirFold Pro and many other scooters, this model has a lead-acid battery, which is heavier than a lithium ion battery with the same capacity.
FreeRider USA Luggie Elite ($3,189): The Luggie Elite is airline approved, folds and unfolds quickly, and has a tight turning radius. With a top speed of 4 mph, it’s slower than some others but comparable to the AirFold Pro. It’s cheaper than the AirFold Pro and doesn’t weigh much more (50 pounds), so it’s a good option for saving some money.
Merits S542 Yoga Folding 4-Wheel Mobility Scooter ($3,999): This scooter weighs a bit more than the AirFold Pro at 53 pounds, but it does fold easily to store in a trunk or even a large suitcase. The front wheels have a suspension system for a softer ride, and there’s an adjustable tiller. It has a slightly longer range than the AirFold Pro of about 11 miles.
My Opinion: The AirFold Pro appears to be well thought out, meet or beat its competition on a variety of factors, and have all the key features someone needs in a relatively portable motorized scooter — especially if the airline-friendly batteries work as advertised. Plus, I didn’t find another scooter made of carbon fiber, which means the AirFold Pro is about as light as you can get for the functionality it offers.