3 Myths You May Have Heard About Lithium RV Battery

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Lithium RV batteries are a hot topic, and for good reason.

RV lithium batteries are 12-volt rechargeable batteries that have gained popularity as a lead-acid battery substitute, especially among RVers who often go off-grid and/or utilize solar power.

Lithium iron phosphate is a more recent, more effective lithium-ion technology that forms the basis of RV lithium batteries (or LiFePO4 for short).

In addition to lasting substantially longer than lead-acid batteries, lithium RV batteries are also lighter.

Additionally, they charge quicker due to their increased efficiency.

But there are a few high-pitched myths concerning lithium RV batteries that are circulating, and today’s piece aims to debunk the three most widespread of them.

Let’s get right to it as knowledge is power (both literally and symbolically in this instance)!

Recommended reading: How to Replace & Upgrade Your RV Batteries?

What Are the Top 3 Myths Regarding Lithium RV Batteries?

#1. Lithium Batteries Can Be Risky

Lithium Batteries Are Dangerous

The danger of lithium batteries is a common misunderstanding.

That may have been the case in the past, but lithium battery technology has significantly advanced since then.

Today’s lithium batteries are quite safe thanks to the additional safety measures that have been developed and put in place as a result of those developments.

Prior to a number of technical advances, certain lithium batteries used in devices were prone to overheating and sometimes catching fire.

Though science has come a long way since then, non-combustible lithium chemistry is now used to make RV lithium batteries using lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) technology.

They vary from other “lithium-ion” battery types used in laptops, mobile devices, and other portable electronics. and for use on RVs are significantly safer.

Nevertheless, lithium RV batteries are susceptible to a phenomenon known as thermal runaway, which happens when the battery’s internal temperature climbs to the point where a chemical reaction results in an excessive amount of heat, which may generate a catastrophic situation culminating in an explosion.

But the majority of lithium RV batteries incorporate a battery management system because of this (BMS).

By monitoring and controlling the battery’s sophisticated characteristics, a battery management system makes sure the battery runs safely.

Therefore, the worry that lithium batteries are unsafe is no longer justified due to the advancement of technology.

#2. In cold weather, lithium batteries cannot be used.

Second-largest misconception: Lithium RV batteries cannot be utilized in cold climates.

Again, this isn’t quite accurate.

In fact, you may be able to draw power from certain lithium RV battery models down to -4°F.

Lithium Batteries Can’t Be Used in Cold Weather

Several approaches have been taken to solve the problem of lithium-ion RV batteries being negatively impacted by the cold.

These days, lithium RV batteries may be utilized in conditions well below freezing.

The main problem, though, is that lithium batteries cannot be recharged at or below freezing without suffering long-term damage.

This is due to the possibility that, at high temperatures, the lithium might crystallize and breach the membranes that make up the battery’s cells, rendering the battery useless.

There are two distinct approaches to the recharging problem.

The BMS (Battery Management System) built into (or installed along with) the battery(ies) will monitor the internal temperature and ensure that it does not permit any charging current to flow into the battery if it has reached a dangerous temperature.

This is true of almost all lithium RV batteries that we are aware of.

This will safeguard the battery from harm, but if that’s all you depend on, your battery could not recharge as quickly as you’d want.

The availability of lithium batteries with integrated heating elements on the market is the second method for addressing this problem.

The heating element may turn on when the BMS determines that the battery’s internal temperature has fallen to a certain level, enabling the battery to be charged deep below freezing.

The 100Ah Battle Born and 125Ah Xantrex are two of our favorite lithium RV batteries with heating.

They are both sized to be straight replacements for standard RV batteries.

Lithium Batteries Are More Expensive

This is the Freedom eGen, a bespoke lithium battery from Xantrex.

However, Xantrex also manufactures drop-in 12V lithium batteries.

Last but not least, lithium batteries still have a benefit even without these safety features.

Lithium RV batteries do not outgas at all, in contrast to flooded lead-acid batteries, which must be put in vented compartments because of the flammable gas that it produces during charge/recharge cycles.

They may thus be put inside your RV and are more protected from problems caused by outdoor temperatures as a consequence.

#3. The Price of Lithium Batteries Is Higher

To begin with, this is true.

The price of lithium batteries is higher. They are often less costly in the long term due to their longer lifespan than lead-acid batteries.

A good RV lithium battery may really last up to 10 times longer than an RV lead-acid battery.

Therefore, you may need to replace a lead-acid battery more than once during the course of a lithium battery’s lifespan.

That sums up (and can be a real pain in the neck).

Additionally, you can typically install half as many lithium batteries for RVs as flooded lead-acid batteries because they can be discharged and drained at much lower rates (flooded lead-acid batteries shouldn’t be discharged or drained beyond 50% of their capacity before their lifespan is noticeably reduced).

For instance, if you need 200 Ah of battery capacity, two 100 Ah lithium batteries that can be discharged all the way to 0% State of Charge would suffice (SOC).

Since you can only utilize 50% of equivalent flooded lead-acid batteries (400Ah x 0.5 = 200Ah of useful capacity), you would need to install a total of 4 x 100Ah (for a total of 400 Ah).

Related Also: RV Lithium Battery Conversion: The Ultimate Guide

Have You Changed Your RV’s Batteries to Lithium-Ion Models?

Please share your experiences with us if you’ve switched your RV to lithium batteries.

Post a comment and let us know what you think.

Alternatively, if you’re opposed, let us know that, too!

We’re interested in hearing your opinion!

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Ryan is a RV product expert with nearly a decade of experience researching, developing, and testing RV products.

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