Can Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries Save You Money Over Time?

Posted November 10, 2021

Do the higher up-front costs of LFP batteries save you money over time? RELiON’s lithium iron phosphate batteries offer several advantages over lead-acid such as zero maintenance, longer lifespan, and quicker charge time. Because of their long lifetime, you can count on fewer battery replacements. Read more about how we explain the total cost of ownership of a LiFePO4 battery compared to lead-acid technologies, and how this could save you more money in the long run.

Do Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries Cost More Than Lead- Acid Over Time?

LiFePO4 batteries have a much lower total cost of ownership compared to traditional lead-acid batteries, resulting in enhanced competitiveness and increased profitability. Lithium iron phosphate batteries are sealed units that do not require topping up of electrolyte or periodic acid adjustment, and no equalization charge or cooling periods are required. You simply charge, plugin and you are good to go. Considering lithium batteries last up to 10x longer and require zero maintenance, the money you save on upkeep costs and replacement batteries will make up for the larger upfront cost.

How long will LiFePO4 batteries last?

RELiON lithium iron phosphate batteries can last up a minimum of 3500 cycles at 80 percent depth of discharge, without a decrease in performance. The average lifetime of lead-acid batteries is just 500-1000 cycles. By life cycle, we mean the charging, discharging, and recharging of the lead-acid battery. LFP batteries do not require active maintenance to extend their service life. Also, the batteries show no memory effects and due to low self-discharge, you can store them for a longer period. Lead-acid batteries need special maintenance. If not, their life span will decrease even more. In real-world terms, this means a LiFePO4 battery will last you around 10 times longer than a lead-acid battery.

How to Calculate Total Cost of Ownership

To calculate the total cost of ownership of the RELiON RB100 12V 100Ah lithium battery, we performed a simple cost formula with three common lead-acid Group 31 battery technologies: flooded lead-acid (FLA), Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM), and Gel.

LFP Battery Cost Breakdown

These are the elements that make up the total cost of ownership for LFP batteries:

  • Retail cost of the battery, which is the largest cost of initial installation.
  • The cost of the labor needed to install the battery. This should be performed by a professional who in some cases must be scheduled and dispatched to the customer’s site. The labor cost for installing any battery type should be about the same, but with lead-acid batteries, the process must be repeated multiple times, compared to one single installation for the entire life cycle of a RELiON LiFePO4 battery.
  • The cost to maintain the battery. Lead-acid batteries require maintenance that includes checking and topping off water levels, cleaning acid residue off the battery and terminals, as well as cleaning or replacing nuts, bolts, and cables that have become corroded over time. LFP batteries require no maintenance over the entire life of the battery, making them a more cost-effective solution.
  • The cost of replacing batteries. Lead-acid batteries will need to be replaced multiple times before a lithium battery will need to be replaced.
  • Cost of charging. The nominal cost of electricity for charging the battery. It includes the need for overcharging lead-acid batteries to avoid stratification (the accumulation of lead sulfate on the battery’s plates). In our calculations, we assumed a DOD (depth-of-discharge) of 80% on all batteries before recharging was necessary.
  • Probably the most crucial factor in calculating how much money you can save by switching to lithium batteries is the number of cycles the battery will run until the end of its life. Check out how we compared the RB100 to other battery technologies and the costs associated with them.

How Can Lithium Batteries Save Your Business Money?

If your business operates with the help of electric-powered carts, material handling machines, or commercial cleaning machines, the advantages that come with lithium batteries can save you money in several ways.

  • Lithium iron phosphate batteries have 100% of their rated capacity available, meaning an LFP battery-powered vehicle can travel 1.5 times longer or further than the same vehicle fitted with a similar capacity lead-acid battery.
  • An LFP battery also charges up to 5x faster than a lead-acid battery. Additionally, their fast charge and discharge rates cause them to be a great fit for all sorts of applications. Fast charging reduces any downtime and increases efficiency.
  • Opportunity Charging, in turn, eliminates the need for multiple batteries and battery changeovers, as batteries can be boosted during breaks or idle times. This reduces the risk of any accidents during battery changeovers and eliminates the need for battery bays with forced ventilation and battery attendants, saving money and freeing up valuable space.

LFP batteries are still not the cheapest option on the market, and they do tend to have higher up-front costs than other battery systems. However, LFP batteries last much longer and perform better than lead-acid, saving you or your business money overall. If you want to learn more about how the advantages of RELiON lithium batteries can help benefit you, contact us and we will help you get started.

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