Within the last decade, the technology of batteries has undergone a major revolution, largely because of the proliferation of modern portable personal electronics, most notably for computers and cell phones. To meet the continuing challenge of miniaturization of these electronic devices, a new generation of batteries based on lithium (a light metal) has come into being on a large scale. During the course of development of the lithium battery chemistries, there have been two major generations of batteries. The first, the so called lithium ion chemistry was rapidly adopted by the laptop computer makers. This generation was marked by instability which manifested itself in fires. The second and more modern chemistry, the lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) is very much more stable and is the preferred chemistry for larger applications such as electric cars, marine and solar.
Lithium batteries offer many advantages over lead acid. Lithium batteries typically store twice the energy of lead acid batteries in 1/3 less space and as a result they have spurred innovation in many vehicular systems besides cars. Things like engine idling reduction, electric reefer trucks and electric scooters for example. One of customers even put lithium batteries on a horse for a light parade!
Lithium batteries can be charged very rapidly. This means that a generator or solar panel can charge the batteries with greatly reduced run time. This is particularly useful in marine applications where the house battery could be charged with only 4 hours of generator run time and then used for the remaining 20 hours.
You can discharge lithium batteries 85% 2000 times. With proper care, you can expect about 10 years of service. Contrast this with lead acid in solar applications where the batteries can only be discharged about 15%-30% to get 10 year life. In solar applications, a 100 amp hour lithium battery can do the same work as a 330 amp hour lead acid battery!
Extended operating temperature is another plus of the lithium chemistry. At 32F, lead acid batteries have only about 50% of the capacity that they would have at 70F. Lithium batteries on the other hand have 98% of their capacity available at 32F.
Lack of maintenance is another benefit of lithium batteries. They are completely sealed and do not require any water. They do not leak and will not make spots on the floor. There is no problem operating the batteries either horizontally or vertically.
German scientist W. Peukert discovered in 1897 that the available capacity in lead acid batteries decreases as more current is drawn from them. In an electric vehicle application this usually means that less than 60% of the rated capacity of the battery is really available. Lithium batteries do not suffer from the Peukert effect and typically have 98% of their capacity available at full load in an EV.
To get the rated life from a lithium battery, it must be protected from discharge beyond 85% and from over charging. We have several inexpensive protection circuits on our product page: LVD, SOC and EMS
When considering a battery system, please contact our technical staff. We can help you select the components you need to make your system function well and have long life. EV Enterprises has a full range of lithium batteries, chargers and battery management systems. If a custom solution is in order, please contact us. We make all of the electronics in house, so that we can assure quality and responsive delivery.