Batteries is an important topic in the RV world. Many RVers will go to lead acid batteries. However, lithium-ion batteries (such as LiFePO4 batteries) are trending now. There is no doubt that lithium-ion batteries are more expensive investments than lead-acid batteries, but upgrading to a lithium-ion battery will ensure better performance of your motorhome. They are more cost-effective in the long run.
When lithium VS lead acid, lithium completely dominates lead acid. Reduced usable capacity, restricted cycles, slow charging, and periodic maintenance requirements are just some of the reasons why you might want to upgrade your RV motorhome house batteries. Lithium ion batteries are an alternative that many RV owners consider for replacement of lead acid batteries. Let's take a look at whether or not switching to Lithium ion batteries is a good move.
Lead batteries can take on high charging current and bulk charge, only up to 80 percent. Once they hit the 80 percent, the charging speed gets relatively slower. What's more is that every time that you use your RV battery without charging it fully it prematurely ages, reducing its life. If you are charging it using solar power panels, then you will have to plan it beforehand, so it can be fully charged before it is dusk.
Also, lead acid batteries do not charge as efficiently as lithium ion batteries, and lose nearly 15 percent of the charging energy, meaning that they will take longer to charge completely. What some RV owners do is purchase cheap batteries, and bulk charge the lead battery to 80 percent. When the battery fails, they buy a new one or have it replaced if it still falls under warranty. Lithium ion batteries can be charged quickly and completely without any trouble.
The useable capacity of your lead battery is about 30 to 50 percent of the rated capacity. Every time the lead battery is used beyond the useable capacity, its life is cut shorter. To put that into perspective, a 500ah capacity battery would fetch a maximum of 250ah capacity. Lithium ion batteries, on the other hand, have greater useable capacity than lead acid batteries and can be drained up to 80 percent of the rated capacity.
Even a good quality lead battery that is not over-worked gives you only a limited number of cycles, about 500 to 1000. If your lead acid battery is drained often, then its life reduces, and you will have to replace it once in every two years or lesser. The life cycles that you get to appreciate with a lithium ion battery is far higher, anywhere between two to ten times what you would get with a lead battery. These batteries last longer, and call for fewer replacements over time, offsetting the price margin.
The capacity of lead acid batteries dips drastically when they discharge at a fast rate. If you use high-current loads such as microwave ovens and induction cooktops, then the capacity of the lead acid battery can be brought down to 60 percent or lesser. The capacity of lithium ion batteries is not adversely affected by the power consumption of high-current loads, making them more reliable. While lead acid batteries do not perform well when discharged over 50 percent, a lithium ion battery can easily handle deep discharge cycles.
On the surface, lithium ion batteries can appear too expensive, but we believe they are one of the best investments one can make for their system. While the upfront costs for lithium may be higher than other battery types, the associated benefits like longer service life, superior reliability and excellent efficiency, will far outweigh the high initial cost. In just about all cases lithium batteries have a lower cost per KWH per cycle. This means throughout their life cycle they will cost much less than other batteries and thus will be the most economical solution in the long run, especially when compared to that of high-quality lead acid batteries