Advantages and disadvantages of Lithium Lead Acid Batteries (ION/LiPo/LiFEPO4/NMC)

Conventional lead-acid batteries and lithium batteries in their different forms are widely used in the usual technologies used in automotive and electric energy storage.

All batteries are composed of an anode, a cathode, the electrolyte (used to communicate the anode with the cathode and generate electricity), and a separator in the case of lithium batteries, to prevent an internal short-circuit caused by the power, which could compromise the battery and the connected system.

Operation in Lead Acid batteries on the left, and in lithium (ION) on the right.

Lead Acid

Within lead acid, there is a distinction that does not exist in lithium, the separation between automotive starting batteries, which support very high discharge peaks for a few seconds, and deep cycle batteries (and some dual), which support deeper discharges of the battery. In the attached table, we will only look at the advantages and disadvantages of starting batteries. Storage batteries are the usual lead acid batteries, with the difference of having much thicker internal plates, to improve their storage capacity with respect to automotive batteries.

Lead Start TechnologyAdvantagesDisadvantages
Lead AcidLower cost
Large number of applications
They are safe
Few discharge cycles
AGM/EFB or GELIncreased response to shocks for Start-Stop type cars
More loading and unloading cycles
Higher cost
Spiral Cell (OPTIMA)More amperage in less space
Support downloads well
The highest cost of the 3
Few models

Lithium (NMC/ION/LiPO/LiFEPO4)

Lithium batteries are a substantial improvement over lead-acid batteries in many factors, most notably their weight and their storage and discharge capacity.

In general, lithium wins over lead on two factors:
It withstands deeper discharges than conventional lead acid, has no memory effect and much higher energy storage with up to 10 times less weight. If the battery is of high quality, it also withstands more discharge cycles than conventional lead acid batteries.
The usual disadvantage is the possible problems in its incorrect handling, especially at high temperatures, more dangerous than lead-based accumulators, and still can not be used conventionally for automotive vehicles, by the lower capacity to provide very high peak discharge (Although the LiFEPO4 is capable of giving more than 100 or 200 Amperes of followed even for hours, lead acid batteries can start to supply more than 900 Amperes for 10 seconds, necessary for combustion engines, but not for electric motors).

Lithium TechnologyAdvantagesDisadvantages
Lithium NMCWidespread in its early applications in vehicles such as golf carts, golf carts, etc.
If it has good electronics, it is the safest.
Highly flammable at high temperatures.
Reduced support for deep cycling
Lithium ION (Li-ION)
Liquid electrolyte
The most widespread at the moment.
Low cost (compared to other lithium alternatives)
Flammable at high temperatures
or blows
Lithium ION (Li-Po)
Solid electrolyte
It is the most unstable since when the battery is perforated it explodes (the separator is perforated).
They are standard as they have a solid electrolyte.
Better performance and less wear and tear
Higher cost
They have less capacity than lithium-ION
Flammable at high temperatures
or blows
Lithium Ferrophosphate
Safer than lithium ION and NMC lithium
More charge and discharge cycles
Safe against high temperatures and/or shocks
Highest cost of all as it is less widespread

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