Before starting the comparison between Lithium-ion and Lead Acid batteries let’s see the role of batteries in the electric bike.
The electric bike or scooter has an intricate lighting system, an electric start and other accessories. The battery is as powerful to support all these without disturbing the sensitive electronic parts with spikes and surges. And in the end it must start the engine and runs it.
Before starting discussing let’s see how the battery works.
Basic Battery Operation
The battery works by converting the chemical energy into electrical energy. The battery block contains electrodes (such as metal that have electricity) merged with an electrolyte (liquid or other substance like a gel that contains electrically charged particles/ions). The chemical reaction occurred between the ions in the electrolyte and electrodes produce an electric current.
In the basic operations, there is the vast difference between lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries.
Let’s see the Lead-Acid battery
There are many vehicles like motorcycles, electric scooters, Jet Ski and ATVs used lead-acid batteries.
The conventional lead-acid battery has sulphuric acid as the electrolyte and leads alloy electrodes.
While using the battery (discharging), the electrolyte-electrode chemical reactions make the acid break down into the water. On the opposite side, the charging binds up the water molecules back to the acid electrolyte. This process splits water into oxygen and hydrogen and they are released through vents.
In the battery, a single cell produces 2 volts of electricity and a 12 V battery contains six cells connected in series.
With the development in technology, there is maintenance free lead-acid batteries are available. They have Seal and these batteries don’t require a vent but it is given in case of overcharging.
Modern-day model uses the absorbed glass mat (AGM) technology, where there is a fine fiberglass mat between the electrodes. The mat absorbs excess acid and retains oxygen created during the charging process. The oxygen recombines with active materials, which forming water.
Is Lead-acid battery maintenance free?
Any batteries required maintenance. If you have battery operated vehicle and you use it daily, just clean the terminals. But if you don’t use your electric bike for a longer time than the battery requires special care.
Keep in mind that, the electric system draws some power even it is not in use. This is the reason behind the battery discharging over time. The lead-acid batteries are also self-discharge with the time. During the discharge, the by-product of lead sulfate coats the electrode plates. The surface area is minimized and the battery capacity is reduced. A normal charging reverses the process.
If the battery is not charged for a long time, there is too much lead. After so much sulfation, the charging will not help. A discharged battery leads to internal corrosion and also may lose the connections inside the battery.
If you are not using your electric vehicle for the longest time, remove the lead-acid battery and connect with the trickle charger.
Used in electric vehicles like
– Mobility Scooter
– Golf Cart
– Electric Scooter
– Electric Moped
– Electric ATV
Advantages of Lead-Acid Batteries
– The lead-acid batteries are using worldwide as they are inexpensive to manufacture.
– The batteries are reliable and lasting for the difficult condition with little or no maintenance.
– People see these batteries as dangerous but the battery is almost recyclable. The Sulfuric acid is safely neutralized and lead and polypropylene case can be used to make another battery.
– The lead-acid batteries are easy to transport.
Disadvantages of Lead-Acid Batteries
– The batteries are heavy as per their capacity.
– If it is not properly recycled, it may be harmful to the environment.
– The Lead-Acid batteries have a limited lifespan.
– These batteries are under class 8 regulation as it has a risk of fire if shorted.
In the past few years, lithium-ion batteries are more popular as they are lightweight and have compact design than lead-acid batteries.
The Lithium-ion battery has lithium as a positive electrode and a carbon/graphite as a negative electrode and also an electrolyte comprised of a lithium component and an organic solvent. As the name suggests in the lithium-ion cell the lithium ions move between electrodes in the charging and discharging process.
These batteries have various forms with different amount of manganese, nickel, iron and cobalt combined with lithium. The Lithium-ion phosphate batteries are generally used for electric vehicles as they are more stable and have no problem of thermal overrun.
In the discharging process, the lithium ions move to the positively charged electrode. The flow of electrons (subatomic particles with a negative electric charge) produces electric current. In the charging process above process is reversed.
Single battery cell generates 3.2 volts and the four cells combined generate 12.8 V. Connect additional battery packs for more power for your electric vehicle.
The above image is the Li-ion cell.
The Li-ion battery used in
– Electric Scooter
– Electric Skateboard
– Electric Bike
– Electric motorcycle
Advantages of Lithium-Ion Batteries
– The main advantage of Lithium-ion battery is its energy density. The Lead-acid battery required six cells while Li-ion battery produces same with only four cells.
– The batteries have better resilience to self-discharge and hold a charge for longer time.
– The Lithium-Ion batteries are safer to the environment.
Disadvantages of Lithium-Ion Batteries
– An internal electronic circuitry is required to keep safe cells from discharging or overcharging in high temperatures and current surges.
– Almost all the lithium-ion batteries have a specific charger to charge, you cannot charge every battery with a universal charger, and this could damage the battery.
– Lithium-Ion batteries are expensive than lead-acid batteries.
– For Air travelers, it is necessary that they carry battery onboard and don’t place it in luggage.
The lead-acid batteries are most commonly used in modern day electric vehicles and required replacement time to time. The Lithium-Ion battery is the future of electric transportation. The lead-acid batteries have more maintenance cost than lithium-ion batteries. The lithium-ion batteries provide more energy density.
Lithium-Ion batteries are costly but it also has higher performance and reliability. The use of lead-acid batteries in electric vehicles is decreased as the modern day electric vehicle tends to be lightweight. A lithium-ion battery is more suitable for modern day electric vehicles.