What Are The Advantages Of A Lithium RV Battery?
Whether you are sitting around the campfire, boondocking with friends, or attending happy hour at an RV park, the subject of RV lithium batteries is sure to come up.
You are likely to find yourself also asking, what are the advantages of a lithium RV battery?
“RV lithium batteries have several advantages over lead-acid batteries, one of which is their fast charging rate. Lithium batteries can be charged much faster than lead-acid batteries.” Says blogger Levi Henley
11 Advantages Of RV Lithium Batteries
1. They’re lighter
On average, a lithium RV battery is significant lighter than a traditional lead acid RV battery, some weighing just a fifth of the weight of a conventional lead acid battery. Moving less weight down the road equates to better fuel mileage.
2. Voltage is consistent during discharge
A lithium RV battery provides a steady voltage as it is discharged until it nears almost complete discharge (0% state of charge). Conversely, as a lead acid battery is discharged (used), its voltage drops proportionally to its discharge state.
In other words, a lead acid battery can only be used to 50% of charge. After you have used up 50% of the battery, the voltage drops too much to be usable, plus the battery will suffer damage if discharged further.
3. More reserve
A lithium RV battery can provide more usable energy than the same size lead acid battery. For example, a 100-amp hour rated lead acid battery can only be used to 50% of charge, which in turn only provides 50 usable amp hours, while a 100-amp hour rated lithium battery can deliver usable power until nearly discharged, providing nearly 100 usable amp hours. This makes lithium batteries nearly twice as efficient as lead acid batteries.
For boondockers, this a huge advantage, as a large reserve of 12 volt power is an essential item for boondocking, as this article relates.
4. Can be totally discharged without damage
Unlike a lead acid battery, a lithium RV battery can be fully discharged repeatedly without damage.
5. Thousands of duty cycles
A conventional lead acid RV battery will typically last 400 charge/discharge cycles, much less if allowed to discharge below 50%. A lithium battery can be rated to last as many as four or five thousand cycles. Therefore, the life of a lithium RV battery can be up to 10 times longer than a lead acid battery.
6. Low self-discharge
A lithium RV battery has a much lower rate of self-discharge than a lead acid battery. No more worrying about your house RV battery discharging while in storage.
7. Recharge faster
A lithium RV battery can accept a charge much faster than a lead acid battery without damage. A faster charge rate means they can accept the entire output of your solar system and require much less generator run time when charging the house battery. This makes lithium RV batteries ideal for those that like to boondock.
8. Won’t freeze
A completely discharged lithium RV battery won’t freeze until the temperature reaches -68°F. A fully charged lithium RV battery would have to reach a temperature of -140°F degrees to freeze, according to the folks at Go Downsize. Therefore, a lithium RV battery is highly unlikely to be damaged by freezing temperatures like a discharged lead acid battery can.
9. Can be installed in any orientation
The cells of a lithium RV battery are sealed, allowing you to mount the battery oriented sideways, on its end, or upside down.
10. Maintenance free
Since lithium batteries are sealed, there is no required maintenance. No more worrying about adding water or acid leaking from loose caps like a conventional lead acid battery.
11. Can be mounted inside
Another advantage of a lithium RV battery is that it can be mounted inside. Since it is sealed, they don’t let off dangerous fumes when charging like a conventional lead acid battery. Therefore, lithium batteries are not limited to being mounted outside or in a vented space like a conventional lead acid battery.
Since the initial cost of lithium batteries is a big investment, and can be damaged if charged in freezing temperatures, mounting them inside your RV provides a secure and warm environment for them.
Here is a video further explaining the advantages of lithium batteries, their limitations, and what you need to know to install them in your RV:
Are the advantages of a lithium battery right for your RV? If you dry camp frequently, are looking for more reserve battery power in a compact space, don’t want to add a bunch of weight, and need a battery that will recharge quickly and efficiently, then a lithium RV battery is likely the right choice for you.
RVers looking for valuable how-to information have learned to go to the experts. Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.