Lead-acid vs Lithium-ion – Which battery is best for your electric vehicle?

Batteries play variant important roles in everyday life, right from providing the initial power needed to start the engines of vehicles to act as a backup source of electricity. These days battery storage is popularising in every sector in addition to solar energy systems. Many of us are still see-sawing between Lead Acid batteries and Lithium-ion batteries, especially in the Electric Vehicle Sector. So which battery is best for your electric vehicle?

Two of the most common battery chemistry types are lithium-ion and lead-acid. Where Lithium-ion batteries are made with the metal lithium, lead-acid batteries are made with lead. These differences in chemistry result in different performances and costs. While both lithium-ion and lead-acid battery options can be effective storage solutions here’s a comparison on which suit electric vehicles more.

Which battery is the best alternative for your electric Vehicle?

1. What is my cheaper-compact alternative?

Lead-acid is a popular cost-effective battery available in abundance and different pack sizes. However, cost-effectiveness depends on your application. Lead-acid is best for large-scale stationary applications where space is abundant and energy requirements are low. Therefore they are mostly used in power stations and renewable energy storage systems like inverters.

Study reveals plunge in lithium-ion battery costs | MIT News |  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lithium-ion battery

However, lithium-ion batteries have a much higher energy density (125-600 Wh/L), thus providing the same power in a much smaller space. If you want to travel the same distance on your EV using Li batteries and LA batteries, the former takes 8 times lesser space with lighter weight. Therefore for your electric vehicle, which is also mobile, lithium-ion batteries can be the best alternatives in terms of cost and size.

2. Which is more environment-friendly?

Lithium-ion batteries are greener as Lithium is not so hazardous material. On contrary, lead is a carcinogenic material that is harmful to the environment. Even lead-acid batteries contain other chemicals such as sulphuric acid that are poisonous. But the recycling rate for lead-acid batteries is higher than Li batteries. Also, lead-acid batteries are cheaper because of their wide availability.

Given that lithium-ion battery contains landfill -safe materials, they are recyclable. Also with a higher lifespan of 2-3 times longer than lead-acid batteries, it can be argued that lithium-ion batteries are “greener”.

3. How fast can you charge them?

Lithium-ion batteries do require less energy to keep them charged than lead-acid.  The charge cycle is 90% efficient for a lithium-ion battery vs. 80-85% for a lead-acid battery.  One lithium-ion battery pack gets a full charge in less than 2-3 hours apart from the fast charging technology that cuts the time significantly.

Lead-acid Vs lithium-ion batteries — Clean Energy Reviews

 Lead-acid batteries have low specific energy, poor cold-temperature performance, and short calendar and cycle life that impede their use. Additionally, lead-acid batteries self-discharge at a higher rate than Lithium-ion.

Take an example here. You are a delivery person owning an electric bike. Every day morning, you take your bike for deliveries. By afternoon the batteries get discharged. If your bike contains lithium-ion batteries, you can charge them while having lunch and taking an hour’s rest. By then you come back around 5, your battery will be fully charged. But if your EV has a lead-acid battery, to deliver the same amount of power you will need a bigger space. Also, it would take at least 7 pm to charge the battery fully. You will eventually lose your time, money, and returns.

ParametersLithium-ionLead-acid
CostCheck mark, Segoe UI Symbol font, character code 2714 hex.
Environment-friendlyCheck mark, Segoe UI Symbol font, character code 2714 hex.
Capacity vs SizeCheck mark, Segoe UI Symbol font, character code 2714 hex.
Less charging timeCheck mark, Segoe UI Symbol font, character code 2714 hex.
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Slow self-dischargeCheck mark, Segoe UI Symbol font, character code 2714 hex.

4. Which battery can last long?

You can get the best lifespan in lithium-ion batteries if used correctly. The minimum lifespan you can expect from lithium-ion batteries is around 5 years or at least 2,000 charging cycles. But, if used with care and in proper conditions, lithium-ion batteries can last as long as 3,000 cycles. 

Similarly, lead-acid batteries showcase a similar life cycle of about 1000 cycles when used in proper conditions. But extreme heat and other environmental factors can significantly reduce the life of a lead-acid battery. 

Lead Acid Battery Types | Lead Acid Battery Introduction
Lead-acid Battery

A study shows that for electric bikes, lithium-ion batteries last 45% longer than similarly rated (amp-hour) lead-acid batteries.  All in one your electric bike should use lithium-ion batteries considering the fact that it has a higher energy density fitting the battery into the restricted space of your battery.

Today lithium battery technology is improving with better performance and lesser cost. Lithium battery-based EVs are now the best alternative for commercial vehicles to contribute to a greener future. Let me introduce the Kirana charger by Charzer that offers compact chargers available at your nearby stores so that you can charge your scooter anytime anywhere. During your daily commute locate these charging points, through the Charzer App.

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