Battery Basics/ Comparisons

Last Reviewed: Mon, 27/Mar/2017


Wondering what kind of battery your electric bike, scooter, project, etc. requires? Rest assured your search ends here with all the answers you need to make a solid decision. ElectricRider’s battery and electric-bike experts are trained to meet our customers’ needs in a professional manner to ensure the best product for any kind of rider, student, or builder. In this article we’ll review the basics of four major battery chemistries, all of which are rechargeable:

 

 

 

 

1. Sealed Lead Acid (SLA)
2. Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
3. Lithium Rechargeable (LiMn, LiFePO4, etc)

 

 

 

 

1. Sealed Lead Acid (SLA)

 

 

At one point in time, SLA batteries were the only chemistry around to power electric bikes, electric scooters, and other applications requiring energy storage. SLA batteries have been around over 100 years and are very reliable, but are also very large and heavy with an estimated 300 recharge cycles for most applications. Lead Acid batteries require the lowest initial investment, but expect to replace them every 1-2 years for ebike applications. SLA batteries MUST be charged regularly and they do have a shelf-life.

 

 

2. Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)

 

 

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries have been in the market for a quite some time now, but never gained much traction compared to the other chemistries. NiMH batteries offer twice as many recharge cycles as SLA batteries, yet weighs 30% less. The higher initial cost of NiMH over SLA is justifiable by the higher number of recharge cycles expected. NiMH batteries MUST be charged regularly in order to preserve maximum life expectancy. NiMH chemistry was an improvement to SLA, but have become nearly obsolete since Lithium rechargeable batteries hit the market.

 

 

3. Lithium Rechargeable (LiMn, LiFePO4, etc)

 

 

Lithium Ion batteries (Li-Ion) are the newest and most improved technology in batteries. Compared to Sealed Lead Acid battery and Nickel Metal Hydride batteries Li-Ion batteries come out on top without a doubt, reason being that Lithium batteries have 2-3 times more lifetime and weighs 50% less than a SLA battery, and weighs 15% less than a Nickel Metal Hydride battery. Lithium batteries require a higher initial investment than any other chemistry, but due to the much higher number of recharge cycles your cost per mile is actually less! Lithium batteries bring a lot of advantages such as their small size, light weight, and the ability to charge/discharge at higher rates. Not all lithium batteries are born equal though. Some are designed for very high discharge rates, but have a lower capacity, while others may be designed for a very high discharge rate but provide fewer recharge cycles. The two most important considerations to make with lithium batteries are that you’re not only using the right cells for the job, but that they are properly processed and assembled with high quality standards. A single lithium battery can consist of hundreds of individual cells, and like a chain, it will only be as strong as its weakest link. With proper protective circuitry called a BMS (Battery Management System), and a detailed assembly process, lithium batteries are just as safe as any other chemistry. ElectricRider has perfected the process of building lithium battery packs, including custom designs. We know what the right tool for the job is no matter the application, so if you have any questions feel free to give us a call or email. If it’s possible, the experts at ElectricRider can build it! For custom batteries a CAD design of your battery is generally provided in advance for no extra charge, so you can see exactly what you’ll be getting.

 

 

If you have any questions comparing the different chemistries or simply need some expert guidance in battery selection, contact us at 325-227-6903, or write us at sales@electricrider.com.


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