When buying a replacement car battery, a most important concern is longevity. What types of auto battery last the longest is usually the most frequently asked question, It comes as no surprise since car batteries are not necessarily cheap. Changing a car battery every few years is a big drain to the finances of car owners like me. It’s a good thing I found the answer which I would like to share with the rest of you.
Which car battery lasts the longest? The car battery that lasts the longest is a lithium-ion battery. This type of battery is known to last three to four times longer than the most commonly used battery today, a lead-acid battery.
The life expectancy of a lead-acid battery is estimated between 3 to 5 years. Whereas, a lithium battery can be expected to last up to 10 years, if the manufacturer’s warranty is used as a basis. LG and Powerwall lithium-ion batteries are given ten-year warranties.
Also, in a deep discharge operation, a lithium-ion battery has a relatively higher cycle life than a lead-acid battery. The new type of lithium-ion batteries can be be expected to provide from 2,000 to 5,000 cycles, whereas, a lead-acid battery can provide 300 to 500 charge cycles.
Cycle life is the number of times a battery goes on a charge/discharge cycle before its theoretical capacity drops lower than 80% of the rated capacity. Essential factors affecting battery cycle life are, the number and time of the completed charge/discharge cycles.
Lithium-ion batteries last longer because of their high-energy density, high level of charging efficiency and low-discharge capability. This means that they can recharge more rapidly and last longer while losing less energy during the charging operation.
Comparison Between Lithium-Ion Batteries And Lead-Acid Batteries
Lead-acid batteries have been the most commonly used batteries for cars in the last couple of years. This makes it difficult for a majority of car owners and even businesses to shift from a tried and tested product to a new technology such as the lithium-ion batteries.
In this section of this article, let me give you a comparison between lithium-ion batteries and lead-acid batteries to give you an idea of why lithium-ion could be the future of the car battery industry. In addition to longevity, lithium-ion batteries have more advantages over lead-acid batteries.
1.Functional Or Usable Capacity
The maximum usable capacity of a typical lead-acid is around 30% to 50% only of its rated capacity. This means that it cannot be discharged by more than 50% of its capacity. Doing so could greatly shorten the life of the battery. A 100 amp-hour battery bank, therefore, can only provide around 50 amp-hour of usable capacity.
On the other hand, a .lithium-ion battery is known to work better if discharged by 85% of its rated capacity or even more, occasionally. Meaning you can tap 85 amp-hour of usage from a lithium-ion battery rated at 100 amp-hour. This is 40% more than what you can get from a lead-acid battery.
2. Cycle Life
Lead-acid deep cycle batteries can only handle from 500 to 1,000 cycles on the average. You might have to replace your lead-acid battery earlier than its expected lifespan if you keep tapping it.
Conversely, a lithium-ion battery is good from 2,000 to 5,000 cycles. After 2,000 cycles it still retains 75% capacity.
3. Charging Time
Only 80% of a lead-acid battery capacity can be fast charged using a three-stage smart charger, especially an AGM lead acid deep cycle battery which can take a bulk charge. But the last 20% capacity, which is called the absorption phase, can only be charged slowly.
If you’re doing the charging overnight from a smart charger, this won’t pose so much of a problem, but if you’re using a generator to charge your lead acid battery, imagine the fuel it will consume plus the noise and pollution it exudes.
Charging the remaining 20% capacity of your lead acid battery with solar could also be tricky. If you lose the sun before completing the last 20%, you’ll end up with a battery that’s not fully charged.
If this happens often you might end up shortening the life of your battery. Remember, that not fully charging lead-acid battery could cause premature aging.
At the other end of the spectrum is the lithium-ion battery that can be charged quickly up to 100% capacity. In a lithium-ion battery, there is no absorption phase. With a powerful charger, a lithium-ion battery can be charged in only 30 minutes.
Another advantage of a lithium-ion over a lead acid when it comes to charging is that even if you don’t fully charge it, it won’t get damaged. This gives you the flexibility of charging wherever and whenever the possibility presents itself without worrying about disrupting the charge.
4. Wasted Energy
Lead acid batteries suffer from a fundamental efficiency concern – waste of energy. Because of a built-in charging inefficiency, lead-acid batteries waste or lose energy provided to it, In a 100 amp hour provided to it, only 85% get stored. Whereas, a lithium-ion battery gets to store almost 100% of the energy supplied to it.
5. Resistance To Extremely Low Temperature
Both lithium-ion batteries and lead-acid batteries lose capacity in extreme weather condition. A lead-acid battery that is fully charged could handle a temperature as low as –50 degree Celsius, but if its state of charge is low, it can freeze at -1 degree Celsius. A frozen electrolyte can cause an irretrievable damage to the battery.
A lithium-ion battery can do better than a lead-acid battery of comparable size under low temperature. A lithium-ion battery can deliver 80% of its capacity ar -20 degree Celsius while a lead acid battery can only deliver 30% of its energy capacity.
In fact, lithium-ion batteries prefer being stored in a cool environment, as long as it is indoors and is dry.
6. Placement Concern
Some lead-acid batteries like the wet or flooded lead-acid batteries need special care on how it is stored or situated in the car since it contains a dangerous, highly flammable substance, sulphuric acid. Wet or flooded lead-acid batteries need to be in an upright position and placed in a sealed but vented battery box. This is not a concern for AGM lead-acid battery.
Such concern is also not present for lithium-ion batteries. It can be situated in any position nor does it need a vented battery case. Lithium-ion batteries can be specially assembled into odd sizes and shapes which is a great advantage for those with a limited space for a battery.
7. Maintenance Needs
Wet or flooded lead-acid batteries need to be topped off periodically with distilled water which can be quite a burden for some busy people. Although, AGM batteries are maintenance free there is also a downside to it. If you overcharge an AGM battery, the damage could be irreparable, whereas, if you overcharge a wet or flooded lead-acid battery, you only need to replace the solution that boiled off, and it is good again.
Lithium-ion batteries are reasonably maintenance free.
8. Voltage Sag Or Voltage Dip
A 12-volt lead-acid battery that is fully charged usually starts off at 12.8 volts. However, as it is drained, the voltage goes down at a constant rate. Even if the battery still has a 35% capacity, the voltage drops below 12 volts. This voltage dip could cause dimming of the lights and some electronics to fail to operate.
In a lithium-battery, its voltage does not change whether it has an 80% capacity or 20% capacity.
9. Weight And Size
On the average, a lithium-ion battery is from 40% to 60% lighter than a typical lead acid battery. This could mean more fuel efficiency.
3 Long Lasting Lithium-Ion Car Batteries Available On The Market
1.Odyssey PC925 Automotive And LTV Battery
This Odyssey lithium-ion car battery has 330 CCA (cold crank amp) with a 3-10 year service life and a 3-4 years full replacement warranty. Like all other Odyssey battery, the PC925 save consumer’s aggravation, money and time.
It has 70% longer cycle life as compared to other typical deep cycle batteries of 400 cycles at 80% DoD (depth of discharge). It also provides a high steady voltage for an extended period of time.
It has a very high recharge capability of 100% recharge in only 4-6 hours, higher than any sealed deep cycle battery on the market.
Other features include:
● No-spill design and has mounting flexibility
● Highly resistant to vibration – the design protects from mechanical vibration and strong impact
● Highly tolerant to extreme temperature – Its operating temperature is from -40 degree Celsius to 45 degree Celsius or -40 degree Fahrenheit to 113 degrees Fahrenheit,
2. GreenLiFE Battery GL100 – 100AH 12V Lithium-Ion Battery
This lithium-ion battery is a 12-volt 100 AH belonging to Group size 31. Like all GreenLife batteries, this battery has a built-in fully mechanized Battery Protection System or BPS. The system is meant as a protection of the user and the battery, The battery is turned off once it is charged over 15.8 volts or drained lower than 10.5volts. It also has a short circuit protection, protection from reverse polarity and cell balancing.
This Greenlife lithium battery is designed with the cells bolted together in lengthwise circuit boards that provide balance and protection from short circuit. It is also bolted for more conductivity and strength. In instances when one or more cells fail, that cell will be taken offline by the circuit board so that the battery can still work at 12 volts but with lesser capacity.
3. Odyssey PC925MJT Automotive And LTV Battery
The Odyssey PC925MJT is a lithium-ion automotive and LTV battery with 330 CCAA (cold crank amp) with 3 to 10 years service life and a 3-4 years full replacement warranty.
It has a longer cycle life than most conventional deep cycle batteries at 70% or up to 400 cycles ar 8% DoD (depth of discharge) and a higher steady voltage for an extended time.
It recharges faster than any lead acid battery on the same size at 100% recharge in 4 to 6 hours.
Other features include :
● Non-spill design and mounting flexibility
● Highly resistant to vibration since its design protects it from mechanical vibration and strong impact.
● Highly tolerant to extreme temperature with an operating temperature of -40 degree celsius to 45 degree celsius or -40 degree Fahrenheit to 113 degree Fahrenheit.
Lithium-ion batteries were initially used for electric cars, but with recent technology development it has now been adapted for non-electric vehicle use, This is welcome news since a lithium-ion battery lasts the longest as compared to any other automotive battery in terms of service life as well as cycle life.