The world is ever-changing thanks to new advances in technology. Our lives have become increasingly easier over the years, and the changes are obvious. Just think about how different music listening is and how much telephones have changed in the last few decades.
These devices are only possible due to the lithium batteries that power them. These batteries are small and lightweight but still powerful. They’ve been used in electronics for decades, and the transportation industry is now starting to catch up and break into the market.
For RVers, lithium batteries offer many advantages over the lead-acid batteries that traditionally power these vehicles. If you own an RV, you may be considering making the switch. To help you make the decision, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using these batteries in your RV.
Pros of Lithium Batteries for RVs
Whether you’re boondocking and living off the grid or just traveling from RV park to RV park, lithium batteries are a better choice to power your vehicle.
Here’s a quick list of the benefits you can expect to see if you make the switch:
- Weight Reduction
- Energy Efficiency
- No Maintenance
- Improved Technology
- Performance Enhancement
Now, let’s talk about each of these in a little more detail.
RVs do have a weight limit, and it’s crucial that you stick to yours. Not only does it take more fuel to carry a heavier load, but it can also make your vehicle ride unevenly. Not to mention that a heavier weight puts a strain on your tires, braking ability, and suspension.
Fortunately, lithium batteries weigh a fraction of lead-acid batteries. In fact, they’re only about a third of the weight of their counterparts. Depending on how much power your RV needs, this can reduce your weight significantly - a few hundred pounds at least - depending on your setup.
Lithium batteries are much more energy efficient than lead acids because you can use more of the battery. Unlike lead-acid batteries, you can use the total charge of your lithium batteries. They can be depleted down to 0% without causing any damage to them. In comparison, lead acids shouldn’t drop below 50% charge.
This reduces the constant stress of monitoring your batteries’ charge and needing to stop and recharge daily. With lithium batteries, you can go multiple days between a charge, depending on your usage. And, if they happen to die, it’s not a problem. Just charge them back up, and they’re good as new.
Lithium batteries also have a low internal resistance, which allows them to charge more efficiently. They can take a charge quickly, saving you at least half the time you’d spend recharging your lead-acid batteries.
Another benefit you’ll see with lithium batteries is that they last quite a bit longer than lead-acids. Lead-acid batteries degrade much faster than lithium and even faster without proper maintenance. Lithium batteries last at least ten times longer and don’t require any care or maintenance.
When you purchase lithium batteries for your RV bank, it could end up being a lifetime asset. You can get about 5,000 complete discharge cycles and thousands more for partial discharges. This could potentially give you up to 20 years of battery life for your RV, as compared to the 5 or so years you’d get from lead-acids.
When you make the switch to lithium batteries, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is charging them. They don’t require any other maintenance. Since they don’t have any acid, you won’t have to check levels, add water, clean corrosion, or watch for accidental spills as you do with your lead-acid batteries.
The lithium batteries that you’d use in your RV use LiFePO4 technology, which is inherently safe. Plus, they come with a battery management system built-in. This BMS is constantly monitoring the battery to ensure it’s working optimally.
With lead-acid batteries, fire, explosions, and burns are a concern. The BMS prevents all that in lithium batteries with multiple safety circuits that monitor the temperature and avoid overheating. It also prevents overcharging, protecting your battery’s health and lifespan.
This makes lithium batteries a safer alternative to lead-acid batteries. Plus, they’re non-toxic, so they won’t produce gases or leak acid, which means they can be installed anywhere in the RV.
Lithium batteries also have a cell supervision circuit. The CSC monitors each cell of the battery to ensure optimal performance, safety, and reliability.
The most significant advantage that lithium batteries have over lead acids is that they have increased performance enhancement. They have the same voltage output, no matter the condition.
What this means is that you’ll get the same amount of performance and power at any level of charge, whether your batteries are at 100% or 1%. Not only that, but they can handle heavy loads better than lead-acid batteries.
Lead-acid batteries suffer from something called the Peukert effect. This phenomenon causes these batteries to lose more energy when they’re under a heavier load, making it even more difficult to predict how long your battery will last when you’re on the road.
Not only do lithium batteries not have this problem, but they also have fewer weather restrictions because they perform better in heat and cold than lead acids do.
Cons of Lithium Batteries for RVs
Lithium batteries are pretty much exceptional in every way as compared to lead acids, except one: cost.
High Upfront Cost
Lithium batteries are close to double the upfront cost of lead-acid batteries. When you’re considering making the switch, this could be a deal-breaker. However, keep in mind that you’ll save money in the long run, so you’ll need to determine if it’s worth it for you.
As mentioned previously, lithium batteries are more cost-effective in the long run. You won’t have to replace them as often, won’t have to pay for maintenance, and they’ll lighten your load, saving you in fuel costs.
They’re also pretty easy to install, so you won’t have to pay someone to switch them out for you. Many are drop-in ready, so you can pull out your current batteries and replace them with lithium without too much trouble. However, you may need to purchase other accessories to install, so take that into consideration, too.
Although the upfront cost may seem a little daunting, if you’re planning to use your RV full time or casually for years to come, your cost savings over time will be well worth the initial investment.
It’s evident that the pros of lithium batteries far outweigh the cons when it comes to RVs. They’re becoming prevalent in the RV world and make it possible to boondock without constantly running your generator and stressing about your battery levels.
With the increased performance and energy efficiency, your RV life will be transformed. If you’re unsatisfied with your current setup and ability to stay off the grid, consider making the switch to lithium batteries. You’ll be amazed at the difference.