Lithium Car Batteries - Why You Need One (It Can Actually Save Money)

When most people think of lithium batteries they typically think of the little battery that powers their new iPhone or those huge cells under the floorboard of a Tesla. Until recently no one except for high-level race teams or luxury automotive manufacturers had considered using lithium car batteries. They have always been a more costly initial investment when compared to a traditional lead acid battery. But in recent years there have been multiple LiFePO4 consumer-friendly options to hit the market.


In this article we will explain the basic benefits of selecting a lithium car battery compared to a traditional lead acid car battery. This is not a comprehensive list of all of the pros and cons but it will help guide you as you select your next automotive battery.

Power On Demand - Extend The Life Of Certain Mechanical Parts

Less Starter Wear

2015 Subaru WRX show car with lightweight lithium antigravity battery

The resting voltage of most lithium car batteries is 1-2 volts higher than a standard lead acid battery. Not only do they have a higher resting voltage but they experience less voltage sag while under load (cranking for example.) The extra resting voltage combined with the lower voltage sag of a lithium battery means that your starter will have far more power to turn the motor over quicker. Quicker startups means less heat build up and mechanical wear in the starter motor. When multiplied over thousands of start cycles every year this can drastically increase the overall life of the starter.

Having less starter wear is important for anyone who is going to be in remote areas or anyone that has to shut their vehicle off multiple times a day. Overlanders, hikers, off-roaders, and delivery drivers will benefit from not only the reliable starting power of lithium but the added lifetime of their starter motor. Being stranded with a dead starter 30 miles from a paved road can be inconvenient at best and potentially life-threatening in some scenarios.

When factoring in the added parts and labor costs to have a starter replaced more frequently you can begin to see how the initial cost of a lithium battery can end up being more cost neutral. The average price to have a starter replaced is between $400-500 dollars depending on the model of your vehicle. If the probability of a failed starter can be reduced it will save you a substantial amount in repair and or towing costs.

Reduce Wear On The Vehicle’s Charging System

Not only is lithium beneficial for protecting your starter but it puts far less stress on the alternator as well. Lithium batteries can charge up to 5x faster than a standard lead acid battery. The average lead acid battery takes around 10 minutes to replace the power lost from simply starting the vehicle whereas a quality lithium LiFePO4 battery can do this in as little as 2 minutes.

Your alternator will not only be working much less to recharge the battery but the entire electrical system will have more available power in general. The average newer vehicle has a wide range of battery powered systems such as; large infotainment screens, seat warmers, sound systems, and the ignition system that powers the engine. When your alternator is freed up by a lithium battery to charge quickly, both components will be protected from the severe overload that regular lead acid batteries can experience when trying to power these demanding electrical accessories.

Industry Leading Cycle Life - Save Time And Money In The Long Run

Cycle life refers to the actual lifespan of the battery. Lithium car batteries can last up to 5 times longer than a regular lead acid battery. We have heard stories of customers using a lithium battery for up to 12 years before it finally died and there are plenty more examples pertaining to the longevity of lithium car batteries.

 

For the daily driver the long-term cost savings are substantial and the benefits only increase as your performance demands go up. The extreme heat caused by high powered engines can kill a lead acid battery very quickly. Additionally the heavy vibration of off-road use can also wear out a traditional battery fast. Lithium batteries are exponentially more resistant to shock, heat, and high-demand power draw. So while it may be cheaper up front to purchase a basic parts store battery the long-term cost usually exceeds the one-time investment of lithium batteries.

Versatile Mounting Options - Add A Second Battery Or Free Up Space In Your Engine Bay

Lithium batteries are capable of being mounted in any orientation you can imagine. A lithium battery can be mounted literally upside down without any risk of acid spillage that would occur with a regular car battery. 

Many of our customers choose to relocate their battery to the trunk or back seat area using a lithium unit in order to fit certain upgrades under the hood. Performance modifications like larger intercooler piping are usually inhibited by factory battery mount locations. Moving the battery to a different part of the vehicle is the best way to run many of these performance upgrades.

Off-roaders and overlanders also choose to free up engine bay space to fit onboard air compressors and other accessories under the hood. A lithium battery can be easily stashed in the trunk on its side, upside down, or in any orientation that fits the vehicle best.

Lithium ion car battery relocated and mounted in the trunk of a WRX

Overlanders commonly use deep cycle lithium batteries as a second power source for their camping accessories. Things like mini fridges, heaters, or air compressors can be powered by a neatly mounted lithium battery in the rear cargo area.

Make The Upgrade

Hopefully this simple guide has helped you wrap your head around some of the basic benefits of owning a lithium LiFePO4 car battery. If you still feel like you need more information or you have specific questions, feel free to email us / call us and we will help walk you through the education process. And don't worry we won’t badger you with a sales pitch. We genuinely just want to help even if you ultimately choose to do business elsewhere.