Li-Ion Technology: Is it the Future of the Electric Vehicle?

electric car hybrid

While its journey to mainstream was fraught with challenges, the electrical vehicle (EV) has firmly established itself as an accepted substitute for the internal combustion-powered vehicle.

In 2018, there were around 1 million EVs on the United States roads—a number that’s expected to rise to 18.7 million by 2030.

Their popularity is growing drastically due to government incentives and rising awareness of carbon emissions.

In addition to being more environmentally-friendly than their gasoline powered counterparts, EVs also have lower maintenance and fuel costs.

It’s common knowledge that Li-ion is the most commonly used battery technology used in EVs. However, is it the best one?

Over the course of this blog post, we’ll discuss how Li-ion compares with other battery technologies that are used in electrical vehicles.

Lead-Acid Batteries

This technology has been with us for a nearly a century. While lead-acid batteries are known for their reliability and affordability, the emergence of newer, more efficient power storage solutions have made it more or less obsolete in EV application.

Lead-acid batteries are still used in consumer vehicles; however, their function is limited to powering the starter motor and vehicle lighting.

They’re not used to provide propulsion. This is because lead-acid batteries have a significantly inferior specific energy rate compared to newer battery technologies and are much heavier.

If these batteries were used to power an EV, their mass would represent 25-50% of the total mass of the vehicle.

NiMH Batteries

Nickel batteries have a far more superior specific energy rate compared to lead-acid ones. This means they’re far lighter and require much lead storage space.

NiMH batteries have proven to be an effective when used in EVs, and you can easily find nickel battery-powered vehicles that have been driven more than 100,000 miles and are still operating successfully.

However, the technology is far from perfect. NiMH batteries have poor charging efficiency and self-discharge rates, and in higher temperatures, their performance is known to deteriorate drastically.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

There’s a reason why Li-Ion batteries are the most commonly used power storage solution in EVs today.

Lithium batteries have a high energy density, which means they’re lightweight, have excellent charge cycle rates, superb self-discharge rates, and higher cell voltage.

A lithium-ion battery can offer three times more power, and three times the cycle life, while having one-third of the weight of a lead-acid battery.

The only disadvantage of Li-ion batteries is that they cost significantly more than lead-acid and NiMH batteries.

However, in the last decade, prices of lithium-ion battery packs have decreased by as much as 85%, and as the technology continues to advance, the process are expected to fall even further in the coming years.

A premier supplier of renewable energy storage solutions, Big Battery offers a wide variety of high quality power storage solutions, including Nissan Leaf modules, DIY lithium-ion batteries, 48-volt lithium ion battery packs, and more.

By providing re-certified lithium-ion batteries, our aim is to drive a more sustainable circular economy. Get in touch with us for more information on the products and services we offer.