What is the most suitable chemistry for vehicle electrification? Different battery types

electrification of chemical vehicles

Summary of the entry::

One of the important questions when it comes to electrifying a vehicle is about the best battery for it. We can differentiate between lithium and lead-acid batteries, but in reality the variants go beyond that. Which is the most suitable chemistry for the electrification of electric vehicles? Let's discover the different battery types in depth.

Types of lithium batteries for vehicle electrification

We will not go into comparison here lithium vs lead as we have seen before. What we are going to look at is the difference between the different chemistries within lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries

They are currently the most commonly used battery technology in electric vehicles due to their high energy density, which means they can store more energy in less space and weight. In addition, they are capable of delivering constant current at high discharge rates, making them ideal for applications requiring high energy demand.

Lithium-ion polymer (Li-Po) batteries

Lithium-ion polymer batteries are similar to lithium-ion batteries, but use a solid electrolyte instead of liquid. This means they are safer and less prone to leakage or fire. However, they have a slightly lower energy density and are more expensive to produce.

Lithium iron phosphate batteries (LiFePO4)

Lithium iron phosphate batteries are a variant of lithium-ion batteries that use iron phosphate as the positive electrode. They are safer than conventional lithium-ion batteries and have a longer life, but have a lower energy density and are heavier.

Impact of the choice of battery chemistry type

Choosing the right battery chemistry can have a major impact on the performance, efficiency and safety of an electric vehicle. 

Lithium-ion batteries have a higher energy density than other battery technologies, such as lead-acid or nickel-cadmium batteries.

On the other hand, the choice of battery chemistry can affect battery life and efficiency. For example, lithium-ion batteries have a longer life and better performance than lead-acid or nickel-cadmium batteries.

Finally, safety is another important factor in the choice of batteries. Nickel-cadmium batteries can be dangerous because of their tendency to overheat and their toxicity. Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, tend to be safer. Although they also have their own risks, such as fire or explosion, this can be prevented by choosing the right manufacturer and chemistry.

Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are known for their high safety compared to other types of lithium-ion batteries. These are the ones that can be found at NCPOWER, a Spanish manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

Conclusion

Choosing the right chemistry is critical when selecting lithium batteries. Not all solutions are the same and do not offer the same performance.

What is a fact is that any of the battery types mentioned far outperforms conventional solutions. The lead acid batteries (SLAs) have generally been the most commonly used for electric vehicles traditionally. The problem is that they have a low energy density, which means they are larger and heavier. They also have a shorter lifespan and require more maintenance than lithium-ion batteries.

In general, lithium-ion batteries and lithium-ion polymer batteries are the most suitable options for vehicle electrification due to their high energy density, efficiency and energy delivery capacity. However, the choice of the right battery will depend on the specific needs of the vehicle and the available budget.

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