Why We Use Lithium Batteries in Our Campervan Conversions - Texino

Why We Use Lithium Batteries in Our Campervan Conversions

Today’s RV appliances typically consume a lot of power, and campervans carry many of them for maximum comfort on the road. Air conditioners, fridges, water heaters and stoves are only a few of the high-draw appliances we work with. In order to power these devices using lead acid chemistry, we would need massive banks of heavy batteries. Instead, we’ve decided to move entirely to lithium batteries.

So why lithium?

Higher Energy Density

Our primary reason for the switch is energy density. Lead-acid chemistry includes flooded cell, GEL, and AGM batteries. Conventional lead-acid batteries don't cut it for the demanding devices in an RV. They have very low energy density. Lead-acid applications provide only 20-50% of usable energy, which means a 100 amp-hour battery ends up only having 20 to 50 amp-hours available for use. Only significantly over-rating the system will achieve the necessary power. Additionally, as a lead-acid battery is discharged its voltage slowly decays. Thus, the system has to compensate with a higher amp draw to produce the same power over time. As the battery dies, the amperage increases until its voltage is no longer sustainable and the battery is considered dead. Finally, flooded cell batteries, which are easily damaged by vibration and shock, must be installed upright.

Longer lifespan

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, on the other hand, can be discharged to 100% without structural harm. To sweeten the deal, a lithium chemistry battery has a longer lifespan and can be discharged over twice as many times as a lead-acid battery. They also contain integrated circuits that prevent complete discharge. Lithium has a higher voltage instance over its discharge life, staying above 13 volts for most of its charge span. This provides consistent power and more efficiency across the battery’s range. Appliances such as overlanding fridges, stoves, and lights will be less taxed by a more efficient system. Lithium batteries can be mounted in any position and are unfazed by vibrations and most shocks (important for your vanlife travels!)

More power per pound

Lithium Iron Phosphate also weighs only about a third of a comparable lead-acid battery, with over twice the energy density. When you add all of these qualities up, it's the obvious choice for overlanding or individuals looking to boondock. More energy can be stored for less weight and space and will last much longer under harsher conditions. The only drawback to lithium batteries is their inability to provide high amp draws. Most batteries have a limit of 100a continuous draw, which can be mitigated by installing several batteries in parallel. A system's total "continuous draw" is the sum of all the batteries’ limits when run in parallel. For instance, two 100a capable batteries running together would allow a pulse of 200a without issues. The term "cold-cranking amps," used in flooded cells, indicates how much pulse power can be drawn from the battery. A single 100ah lithium battery has 100 cold-cranking amps or 100CCA. This means that lead-acid batteries are still best for engine systems and starters, which often require 750 cranking amps or higher to start.

For those indispensable appliances that ensure comfort and convenience in our camper vans, Texino is going lithium all the way.

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