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Nowadays, lithium batteries has become a more and more common option in RV, it seems that can be added to the information overload for both customers and dealer. There is no doubt that bringing up at least a mention of lithium camper battery talking about batteries with fellow RVers. A lot of people have heard of them. They are supposedly the greatest and most popular in RV battery power. Batteries’ advertisements often result RVers in looking them up only to find the price tag hard to swallow.
What’s the deal with lithium camper battery? Are they really more expensive? Are they better than lead-acid batteries? Do RV goes with the traditional AGM or move to lithium? Here are some tips to weigh the pros and cons of AGM and lithium battery for your clients and help them make a more informed decision.
AGM has proven time-tested technology as they have been around much longer, but however, lithium camper battery may also have many advantages. AGM also performs better when it charges in freezing temperatures that is below 0℃, while lithium battery requires temperature regulation for use in below 0℃ freezing temperature. As for the lead-acid battery, it has an advantage when it is using cold weather. It will charge, and although their performance is reduced, they will still work in sub-freezing temperatures. What about lithium battery? Lithium camper battery will discharge in cold weather more efficiently than lead-acid battery, but if charging it in below-freezing temperature, it results in damaging that renders them unusable.
Usually, budget plays an important role in deciding which battery to get in RV. As we known, lithium camper battery is more expensive than AGM battery, and it can seem like a no-brainer to go with an AGM. But do you know why? AGM battery remains less expensive because the reasons that its materials used to make them of cheaper price and available widely.
On the other hand, lithium battery uses more expensive materials with some being harder to come by. The Initial Cost Per Capacity ($/kWh) as followed: AGM is 221 and lithium is 530; and the initial Cost Per Life Cycle ($/kWh) for AGM is 0.71 and Lithium is 0.19.
Another part of the decision-making process to consider is the lifespan. This is where the initial cost of the Lithium can be offset. The following points highlight the differences between AGM and lithium batteries: Firstly, AGM battery is sensitive to the DOD (depth of discharge), which means that the fewer cycles it has, the deeper the battery is discharged. Secondly, depth of discharge will not affect a lithium battery much, so it boasts a much longer cycle life. Its depth of discharge of 80-90% means fewer batteries are required to achieve the desired capacity. Fewer batteries mean less space needed to store them and more on discharge depths later. Thirdly, AGM battery is generally recommended to be discharged to 50% of their capacity to maximize their cycle life only. This limited depth of discharge of 50% means that there are more batteries required to achieve the desired capacity, which means more upfront costs and more space needed to store them.
Lithium camper battery has the added bonus of not containing the heavier lead-acid found in AGM’s. Thus, it is much lighter than AGM lead acid battery. For the reason that its depth of discharge is 80-90% and lithium a battery bank usually occupies less space, so that less batteries are required for a desired capacity. Therefore, compared to the traditional AGM battery, lithium battery can save quite a bit of weight and volume. The energy density of lead-acid battery is lower than lithium battery, which means a smaller space can be stored more energy. It also means that an RV lithium battery is much lighter than an AGM lead-acid battery of an equal power rating.
The DOD of a battery refers to the percentage of the battery that has been discharged relative to its overall capacity within a charge cycle. A lithium battery with an overall capacity of 100Ah will give you 80Ah-90Ah or means discharging to 80%-90%, but while AGM battery discharges of 50% or offers 50Ah before needing to recharge.
AGM battery is the better option for those who use their RV only a few months at a time, and lithium batteries are preferable for those who are off-grid all the time based on these information. What’s more, keeping in mind that which application you are using it for, it can be great for intermittent RVers.
As for the maintenance, lithium and AGM batteries are sealed, so they are considered maintenance free.
After talking about so many pros, cons and comparison between AGM and lithium camper battery, we can conclude as followed. AGM can be used as starting batteries but most of the lithium batteries cannot make it. Besides, AGM performs better in colder conditions than lithium battery, and AGM’s technology is a kind of time-tested technology. What’s more, it can be wired in different series. As for the price and cost, AGM is of less expensive initially, and it is also a good starting point for most amateur installers
As to the lithium battery, it is a fairly new entrance into the RV battery market compared to the AGM. It is an efficient power-house, and there is no doubt that it also has its benefits. Lithium battery is up to 15% higher charging efficiency and up to 50% lighter than AGM battery. It performs better in DOD, while more expensive up front, they make up for the difference over time
The AGM lead acid battery is still the commonest choice for RVs and cars. Most RVers still prefer AGM battery to lithium camper battery. AGM battery relies on inexpensive components so that it is a relatively cheaper battery than lithium battery. AGM battery has shown to be safe, reliable performance, and effective when it is in normal use.