Lithium-ion batteries – or li-ion batteries – have become all the rage when it comes to powering portable electrical goods. Everything from phones and laptops, through to cars and of course mobility scooters. But why have these types of batteries become so popular? What do they offer that other types can’t?
Lithium-Ion Batteries Charge Faster
The benefit that most will notice from a lithium-ion battery is its ability to charge at a much faster rate than traditional sealed lead acid batteries (SLA) found in mobility scooters. The obvious benefit of this is that you spend less time waiting around for your mobility scooter to be ready to use. You may not even have to charge it for full night to get useable range from it.
The charging benefits aren’t just limited to the speed, there are also advantages during initial setup. Other batteries require an initial longer charge in order to prime the battery for use. However, a lithium-ion battery only needs to be fully charged as normal to be ready. Again, this can save time while also reducing the chance of incorrectly setting up the battery and reducing efficiency.
Li-Ion Batteries Have Greater Energy Density
The reason lithium-ion batteries have a higher density is due to lithium being the lightest of all metals, giving it a greater density potential relative to is mass. Although lithium ions do not have the quite the same level of density as the metal, it still has much more than lead or nickel battery types. This may sound a little too technical to be applicable in normal life, but the advantages of a high energy density are far reaching.
Primarily, this means that a greater battery capacity can be fit into a smaller physical space. This has the obvious space saving benefits – ideal for travel scooters such as the Li-Tech Marathon – but it also reduces the weight. By having lower weight it is again good for travel scooters, but it also helps increase theoretical range as the battery has less of its own mass to move along.
Lithium-Ion Batteries Are Low Maintenance
Another benefit of lithium-ion batteries is that they don’t require any active maintenance. Other than keeping them in mild conditions for storage there is nothing else to do. Other types of battery may need to be charged or discharged and certain points to prolong their lifespan, which isn’t something most people will consciously do. This means it’s simply a case of charging and using the battery as and when, ideal for convenience.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
Of course, no battery is absolutely perfect and lithium-ion batteries have some weaknesses compared to other types. Firstly, they are susceptible to ageing – meaning reduced efficiency – if stored in bad conditions. Secondly, they are more expensive to manufacturer, meaning products containing them can also be higher in price. Finally, due to an outdated reputation of poor safety there are some travel restrictions when it comes to flying with larger li-ion batteries. This usually involves batteries being limited to a certain capacity to be allowed on a plane. However, airline regulations are changing as the technology continues to improve rapidly thanks to their widening use.