Electric Wheelchair Parts: 5 Basic Components

All Hoveround electric wheelchairs are assembled in our own U.S. motorized wheelchair plant using carefully selected electric wheelchair parts

Most electric wheelchairs (also known as power chairs) share certain parts and features — but how familiar are you with these basic electric wheelchair parts?

Whether it's a bariatric power wheelchair designed with a wider, reinforced frame or a standard motorized power chair prescribed with wheelchair accessories for specific mobility needs, every electric wheelchair is usually equipped with the following five components¹:

  1. Electronic controller
  2. Electric motor or motors
  3. Motorized drive configuration
  4. Batteries
  5. Tires and wheels

However, it is important to note that though electric wheelchairs share these particular components and features in general, all motorized wheelchairs are not alike. Parts, components and available accessories for individual motorized chairs, makes, models and styles will vary by manufacturer.

How Does an Electric Wheelchair Work?

The basic idea is that the motor connects to the wheels, those motors are controlled with an electronic joystick and it’s all powered by a set of batteries.

To get more specific, a power chair is built from the power base. A power base is made up of the drive wheels, which may be positioned in the front, middle or back of a base — depending on the model. Where the drive wheel is located determines whether it’s a front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive electric wheelchair. All Hoveround power chairs are built with front-wheel drive to provide better maneuverability. The power base also consists of the batteries, motors and brakes, which are then covered in the plastic shrouding that users see on the outside.

Attached next is the seating system, which can vary depending on the brand, model, style and personal preferences. Since a power chair is designed for mobility-restricted individuals, comfort is of utmost importance. Contoured seating with customized adjustability, potential reclining capabilities and correct weight support should all be considered to find the perfect fit for daily functionality.

Next to be attached are the electronics, such as the motorized wheelchair electronic controller, or joystick. This allows for maximum maneuverability, even around tight spaces, without extensive physical exertion and also enables improved independence.

Each electric wheelchair is unique with its own parts, but understanding the basics can directly benefit mobility-restricted individuals and caregivers. A deeper familiarity with some of the basic parts that make an electric wheelchair work can erase much of the mystery surrounding this life-changing assistive device.

Additional Electric Wheelchair Accessories

Adding additional accessories to a power chair can increase comfort, functionality and ease of use significantly, which is why Hoveround offers a broad range of accessory options for our customers.

An electric wheelchair should be designed for daily living and accessories can create a personalized experience that optimizes mobility and independence. It’s essential to always take a look at what each brand offers for accessories to fully understand the advantages (or disadvantages) of each brand and model.

For example, if a wheelchair user also requires an oxygen tank, a key accessory to add would be an oxygen tank holder that can be easily attached. Similarly, individuals with restricted mobility may want the flexibility of other options throughout the day, such as a cane or walker. In this case, a cane or walker holder would be a great addition to the electric wheelchair. Additional need-focused accessories include reclining seats, elevator seats, skin protection, positioning cushions and elevated leg rests.

Accessories can also be added to ease daily use situations that may not occur to you, such as carrying something to drink. A beverage holder can increase the usability and functionality of an electric wheelchair instantly.

Explore more power chair accessories here.

What to Do if Your Electric Wheelchair Needs Parts or Repairs

If you already own an electric wheelchair, this know-how will aid you in figuring out how to perform upkeep and/or reach out for help, as needed. If you need replacement parts, are reaching the end of the battery life or have any other questions, Hoveround can easily help.

We carry all electric wheelchair components and parts for simple, straightforward repairs or replacements. If an issue ever arises, simply call the technical support team at 800-96-HOVER (800-964-6837) and they can quickly determine how to diagnose and resolve the situation.

Discover more in our electric wheelchairs FAQ section.

If you’re interested in learning more about how electric wheelchairs work, please take a look at our other articles:

For all other mobility questions, call a Mobility Specialist at 800-542-7236, or shop the Hoveround motorized wheelchair store online now!


1Though electric wheelchairs share these particular components and features in general, all motorized wheelchairs are not alike. The articles in this short series present an overview of some of the most basic parts of electric wheelchairs. Parts, components and available accessories for individual motorized chairs, makes, models and styles will vary by manufacturer.

May 16, 2022