Automotive

Why Not Li-Ion Battery as Regular Vehicle Battery?

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  • Mar 19th, 2018 3:43 pm
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Why Not Li-Ion Battery as Regular Vehicle Battery?

The Lithium Ion battery is ubiquitous in electronics and in Hybrid vehicles and in Plug-in Electric vehicles, and now in portable jump starter packs; but it seems that the "regular" car battery is still using plain old-fashioned lead acid batteries.

Li-Ion can obviously be recharged multiples of times, hold charges for a long time, etc - so why aren't they replacing lead acid batteries in vehicles?
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CanadianLurker wrote:
Feb 14th, 2017 12:20 pm
The Lithium Ion battery is ubiquitous in electronics and in Hybrid vehicles and in Plug-in Electric vehicles, and now in portable jump starter packs; but it seems that the "regular" car battery is still using plain old-fashioned lead acid batteries.

Li-Ion can obviously be recharged multiples of times, hold charges for a long time, etc - so why aren't they replacing lead acid batteries in vehicles?
Also, Li-Ion batteries pack a lot of power compared to their size, which makes them extremely vulnerable to the environment they operate in.
Too high temperature and they might explode, too low temperature and they might simply stop working.
In addition, Li-Ion batteries do not like being charged and discharged at the same time, so you need circuitry to prevent this from happening (like what we have in laptops).

I guess all these potential hazards make it an unsuitable candidate for a main stream car battery at this moment. Plus they cost a lot more.
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tk1000 wrote:
Feb 14th, 2017 12:30 pm
High cost of lithium batteries


Why Do Electric Cars Have Lead-Acid 12-Volt Batteries When Lithium Is Lighter?
http://www.plugincars.com/why-do-electr ... 29118.html
That's article - thanks. Since it was written just over 3 yrs ago, the CAFE rules in the USA have only gotten tighter and the cost of Li-Ion batteries has dropped significantly.

If the manufacturers are trying to save weight to meet CAFE standards, then Li-Ion makes sense. I can get a battery pack not much bigger than a couple of stacked smart phones that can jump start a vehicle for less than $150. Seems to me that we're in the range of cost being reasonable for the weight savings.
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IndyBeak wrote:
Feb 14th, 2017 12:38 pm
Also, Li-Ion batteries pack a lot of power compared to their size, which makes them extremely vulnerable to the environment they operate in.
Too high temperature and they might explode, too low temperature and they might simply stop working.
In addition, Li-Ion batteries do not like being charged and discharged at the same time, so you need circuitry to prevent this from happening (like what we have in laptops).

I guess all these potential hazards make it an unsuitable candidate for a main stream car battery at this moment. Plus they cost a lot more.
Good points. Interesting though that they seemed to have solved the safety issues in the operating environment for electric & hybrid vehicles. And for a regular vehicle the battery needed would be much smaller.

The charging point is an interesting dilemma though I'm sure they could figure that out if it meant weight savings to meet CAFE standards.
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DealCanuck wrote:
Feb 14th, 2017 12:49 pm
$1000 for a battery
So unrealistic to expect that a lead-acid battery could be replaced with say 3 or 4 jump start battery booster packs that you can get for $150 or less?
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Feb 7, 2017
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I believe the main reason is cost. Lithium batteries cost significantly a lot more than the traditional lead acid.

Also, lithium batteries require certain conditions for operation:
1) Temperature - Lithium batteries can overheat and catch fire. Operating at severe temperatures will reduce its life.
2) State of Charge (Overcharging/Discharging) - Charge must be maintained or the Lithium battery wont last long

Both of the above conditions are usually controlled/maintained using a computer. For example, your iphone and laptop usually has a regulator that stops it from charging further. Hybrid cars have a similar regulating computer.

I am not an expert. I just read a few articles and this is what I remember.
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Feb 7, 2017
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Here something interesting. Most hybrid cars have both Lithium and lead acid batteries. The 12V lead acid battery is used to boot up the computer that runs checks on the 120V hybrid battery on a hybrid car.
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CanadianLurker wrote:
Feb 14th, 2017 12:52 pm
So unrealistic to expect that a lead-acid battery could be replaced with say 3 or 4 jump start battery booster packs that you can get for $150 or less?
It's a realistic expectation, but li-ion is not cheap enough yet.

A standard Group 35 ValuePower battery from Wal-Mart that holds 50-60 Ah costs US$48.88. If you pack the equivalent 60 Ah of li-ion cylindrical cells together, it would cost about US$150. And then you would need to design something to keep the battery heated for winter climates.

All this would save less than 15 lbs of weight. It's just not worth it for manufacturers.
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Other than cost of the actual cells, Lithium ion batteries also require a much smarter 'brain' to do control.
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IndyBeak wrote:
Feb 14th, 2017 12:38 pm
..
I guess all these potential hazards make it an unsuitable candidate for a main stream car battery at this moment. Plus they cost a lot more.
+1, look at all the problems Boeing had when they put li-ion batteries into the 787 Dreamliner . Even though Boeing had the most talented design engineers in the US, the batteries still caught fire. Same with Samsung and the Note7.

A car battery lives in harsher environment than the interior of an airliner or cellphone.
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l69norm wrote:
Feb 14th, 2017 1:20 pm
+1, look at all the problems Boeing had when they put li-ion batteries into the 787 Dreamliner . Even though Boeing had the most talented design engineers in the US, the batteries still caught fire. Same with Samsung and the Note7.

A car battery lives in harsher environment than the interior of an airliner or cellphone.
Maybe Boeing's engineers aren't as talented in battery technology as Tesla, Toyota, GM, Ford, etc engineers who seem to have safely mastered using lithium batteries in pure electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles.

I recall these issues and Tesla volunteering to help as they had more experience with the technology than Boeing did. Boeing refused and solved it on their own, but Tesla wanted to allay the public's concern that these batteries aren't safe.

Or are Teslas, Volts, Bolts, Priuses, Leafs, i3, etc all really just rolling Roman candles just waiting to burn up?
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IndyBeak wrote:
Feb 14th, 2017 12:38 pm
In addition, Li-Ion batteries do not like being charged and discharged at the same time, so you need circuitry to prevent this from happening (like what we have in laptops).
How would a battery both charge and discharge at the same time?

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