Technical: Lithium batteries – Sport 5

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Lithium batteries are considered better than older lead batteries because of low weight, fast charging and longer life. In this list we will explain about the lithium-ion batteries, which have become more popular as an upgrade and even come as standard in premium motorcycles.

The battery in a motorcycle is a receptacle for electrical voltage, which provides the electrical energy needed to operate the electric starter and other consumers until the engine is started and the charging system begins to supply voltage. The battery voltage is supplied through a chemical reaction which is converted inside the battery cells to electrical energy. The battery also provides additional energy required for electrical components such as the fuel pump, engine management system, lights, horn, dashboard and alarm. The familiar batteries are built on the basis of lead and acid plates (dating back to 1859), and include an ‘open’ battery that requires strict fluid level in the cells and refilling of distilled water (familiar to motorcycle owners in the 90s who were looking for ‘water like irons’), and a battery. Closed ‘that does not require any maintenance. There are also gel batteries, which are similar to acid batteries, but in this case the electrolytic material is not liquid, but gelatinous-thick. Their features allow placement at different angles, and also a higher lifestyle.

Lead accumulators have many disadvantages, such as weight (probably compared to lithium), lead that is harmful to the environment, and acid that can cause corrosion. Their lifespan is measured in a few years, and while waiting on the shelf they may lose about 1% of capacity per day.

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Another type of batteries is lithium. Lithium batteries are not a new invention, as they date back to the early 1970s. In the last ten years, the use of lithium-ion batteries as aftermarket products for improving motorcycles has increased, and there are also manufacturers who supply them directly from the factory in enduro or premium road models. It is a rechargeable battery based on the exit of lithium ions from the negative electrode (anode), the passage of the ions through an electrolyte that conducts lithium ions, and their entry into the positive electrode (cathode). On a day-to-day level, these batteries have been used for over a decade on all types of mobile devices and laptops – electronic consumer products – that are around us. These batteries also drive the increasing number of electric vehicles and motorcycles on Israeli and world roads.

The obvious advantages of lithium batteries are first and foremost lower weight, because they can store more energy per unit weight and volume – more energy in less space (the more expensive batteries are up to 70% lighter). Charging time is shorter, and self-discharge is lower. That is, once the battery is charged there are capabilities to maintain the capacity for a longer time. Lithium batteries allow faster starting because there is more rest voltage compared to standard lead batteries, and in addition, the maximum starting current (CCA – Cold Cranking Amps) is higher than lead batteries with the same capacity. According to data we found, life expectancy is measured at about 3,000 cycles and more compared to just over 1,000 in regular batteries – that is 3 times and more. Lithium batteries will also maintain the voltage for the rest of their lives and will not ‘get tired’ like lead batteries. Remember the loss figure of 1% capacity per day? So in lithium it is about 1% every 45 days.

To prevent ignition, the latest generations of lithium batteries come with a BMS (Battery Management System) which takes care of charging the cells at an equal level while maintaining their balance. In expensive batteries, the BMS system also takes care of disconnecting the battery in case of charging or It is important to note that the BMS comes in the more expensive batteries offered on the market, when there are cheaper replacements that do not include the mechanism.

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The disadvantage of lithium batteries is a higher price – an order of magnitude of 30% – than a regular battery, a difference due to higher production costs due to raw materials. Most motorcycle manufacturers will choose to assemble lead batteries for the sake of said financial savings. As we mentioned, there is also a danger of overheating which in an extreme situation could lead to a flare-up – in the cheaper lithium batteries without the BMS.

In conclusion, lithium batteries are an expensive upgrade over lead-acid batteries in terms of longevity, performance, fast charging, durability, minimal maintenance and weight loss. The expensive price is offset by the figure of higher longevity. There are lithium batteries on the market that are suitable for all existing motorcycle models, and it is worth considering this as an option to upgrade your scooter or motorcycle.

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