Choosing Between Lead Acid and Lithium-Ion Batteries for Two-Wheelers A Detailed Comparison

Choosing Between Lead Acid and Lithium-Ion Batteries for Two-Wheelers: A Detailed Comparison

As electric two-wheelers gain popularity, the choice between lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries becomes crucial. This article aims to elucidate the differences between these battery types, aiding beginners in making informed decisions.

Lead Acid Batteries vs Lithium-Ion Batteries

1. Safety:

  • Lead-Acid: Utilizes sulfuric acid as the electrolyte and lead plates. Though relatively stable, short-circuiting may produce hydrogen and oxygen gases, potentially leading to explosions, especially in excessive hydrogen concentrations. Gel batteries, with lower moisture content, pose reduced risks.
  • Lithium-Ion: Known for superior performance, they demand stringent safety measures due to highly active electrode materials and organic electrolytes. Safety measures like explosion-proof valves and thermal sealing enhance their safety.

2. Energy Density:

  • Lead-Acid: Offers lower energy density, generally around 30-50wh/Kg, resulting in heavier overall weight.
  • Lithium-Ion: Boasts higher energy density, ranging between 100-240wh/Kg, making them significantly lighter and more powerful than lead-acid batteries.

3. Price:

  • Lead-Acid: Prices vary widely based on industry use, ranging from a few RMB to tens of thousands. They are relatively cost-effective but have shorter lifespans.
  • Lithium-Ion: Pricier than lead-acid, around 2-3 times more expensive. However, their longer lifecycle justifies the investment.

4. Environmental Impact:

  • Lead-Acid: Contains lead, a heavy metal causing pollution if improperly managed during manufacturing, use, or disposal.
  • Lithium-Ion: Known for being eco-friendly, containing minimal toxic substances and posing no pollution risks during manufacturing or use.

5. Service Life:

  • Lead-Acid: Offers a lifespan of around 300-500 cycles based on usage conditions.
  • Lithium-Ion: Longer lifespan, averaging 2000-5000 cycles, depending on materials and usage conditions.

6. Temperature Range:

  • Lead-Acid: Operates within -5 to 45 degrees Celsius, with reduced capacity in lower temperatures.
  • Lithium-Ion: Functions between -20 to 60 degrees Celsius, maintaining 100% capacity even in extreme temperatures.

7. Charge/Discharge Performance:

  • Lead-Acid: Exhibits memory effects, self-discharge, and slow discharge rates.
  • Lithium-Ion: No memory effect, minimal self-discharge, faster charging, and high-discharge rates.

8. Internal Materials:

  • Lead-Acid: Composed of lead oxide, metal lead, and sulfuric acid.
  • Lithium-Ion: Utilizes lithium cobalt acid, lithium iron phosphate, graphite, and organic electrolytes.

Comparison Summary:

CategoryLead-AcidLithium-Ion (Various Types)
Life Cycles≥300≥500 (Lithium iron phosphate – ≥5000)
Charging Rate0.02C0.2-0.7C
Prices0.3-0.6 rmb/wh0.5-1.2 rmb/wh

Lead Acid vs Lithium-Ion in the Two-Wheeler Industry:

Lead-acid batteries have long dominated the electric vehicle market due to their safety and lower costs. Despite lithium-ion batteries’ advancements, the widespread use of lead-acid batteries, even with bulging issues, remains prevalent due to their perceived charging safety.

However, with the rise of battery swap stations offering safer charging solutions for lithium-ion batteries, their application in the two-wheeler industry is growing.

The Future of Lithium Battery Technology:

The global lithium-ion battery market continues to grow, driven by the rising demand for new energy vehicles. Continuous improvements in quality, raw materials, and safety further enhance lithium batteries’ appeal.

China’s lithium-ion battery shipments have notably surged, indicating advancements in technology and substantial market growth. Lithium battery technology, known for its high energy density, safety, and reliability, stands as a leading energy source for the future.

Conclusion:

While lead-acid batteries still dominate two-wheeled electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries, especially ternary lithium batteries, are gaining traction due to their superior performance. As technology evolves, lithium batteries are expected to play a more prominent role in powering future electric vehicles.