Chances are, in your lifetime, you’ve heard the term lithium battery or lithium ion. These are batteries that are known for their super-powered properties including extreme output while still remaining lightweight and compact construction. Lithiums are used in an array of ordinary items like cell phones, laptops, calculators, and even pacemakers. In the last few years, Lithium Pros has broadened their horizons and gotten into much more than your typical gadgets. They are making replacement lithium batteries for marine, auto, and motorsports.
To bring you right up to speed, you’re familiar with our drag truck, Project DeadSpool, and we’re trying to get that rig as light as possible. Also, with the pile of advantages of lithium, we wanted to upgrade Project Towboat too. Well, with the help of Kevin Bennett, with Lithium Pros, and their 12-Volt P3426 Lithium battery, we’re going to be on our way. Just to give you one key feature of this battery, it only weighs 18-pounds! That’s right, only 18-pounds. As a matter of fact, you can hold this battery with one hand.
But, since DeadSpool is down for winter without an engine, we can’t try out its new battery just yet. So, to mix with the other new add-ons to the tow truck, why not add a battery that powers up and operates our accessories faster than ever?
What Is A Lithium-Ion Battery
Lithium Ion batteries are much different than your typical lead-acid car battery. Instead of depending on lead plates and sulfuric acid, these batteries use a different science. Lithium-ion batteries are typically constructed with lithium and carbon electrodes which means they’re much lighter. Lithium also is a highly reactive chemical substance with greater energy density than other battery materials.
Although the buzz about lithium batteries reads a lot of failures, the truth is the number of casualties is low. As a matter of fact, there are only a few failures per million lithium batteries manufactured and the reason for those are usually neglected units or straight abuse. With safety in mind, every battery that LP offers is constructed from the highest of quality lithium phosphate cells, which are sourced from a licensed manufacturer designed to the highest standard.
Advantages to Lithium Ion
We spoke with Bennett to get the advantages of using a Lithium battery in our application. “Lithium Pros batteries have three distinct advantages,” he said. “They are very lightweight, they recharge up to five times faster, and they hold a higher voltage during discharge.” Probably one of the greatest interest to us truck guys is their great weight advantages in both daily driving and racing.
Using one of these batteries, they are typically 60-80-percent lighter than a comparable lead-acid battery. While the 20-30 pounds of weight loss doesn’t seem like much, when you’re towing 20,000 pounds or racing trucks at 6,000-pounds, every ounce counts. Some of the largest batteries that Lithium Pros offer are only 9.5-pounds, compared to a 40-pound weight to a comparable size lead-acid.
Lithium Pros batteries are fast charging as well. Many drag racers do not run an alternator and must recharge their batteries between rounds. Sometimes those round breaks can last one or two hours, sometimes they’re less than 30 minutes, or even hot lapped. A Lithium Pros battery can accept current more rapidly than a typical lead-acid battery, which allows the batteries to often be recharged in as little as 10-15 minutes.
For the over the road trucks, know you’re going to need a special lithium charger. Lithium Pros supplied us with a special charger, Part Number 1008 for when the truck either sits for a period of time or in case the alternator fails and runs the battery down. We haven’t needed to charge up the battery considering we’re just now installing it, but one thing to note is to not let these batteries die. This can be a very inconvenient and expensive experience.
Lithium Pros’ batteries are obviously way lighter than lead-acid and pack a serious punch. Their batteries deliver higher power during cranking and hold a higher voltage during discharge than a comparably sized lead-acid battery. That means a hotter ignition, faster starts, and more watts for your accessories. Believe me when I say, the ignition is better than it’s ever been.
An Efficient And Longer Battery Life
Lithium Pros’ lithium-ion batteries provide over 5x the cycle life at 80% DOD (depth of discharge) compared to standard lead-acid batteries, and easily handles 2,000 cycles. Lithium Pros’ batteries are 96% efficient at converting input energy into stored energy versus approximately 75% for lead acid. Lithium Pros’ lithium-ion batteries do not contain toxic materials (lead/acid) or emit harmful gases like standard lead-acid batteries. Also, their batteries use Lithium Iron Phosphate which is the safest form of lithium chemistry.
So, after getting it buttoned up in only a few minutes, this truck has never cranked so fast. It sounds like the crank to start time has been cut in half. The starter sounds healthier than it ever has and the accessories of the truck seem to even operate faster. We guarantee these batteries will improve anything they get strapped to.
We can’t thank the guys over at Lithium Pros enough for being a part of our build! We can’t wait to put this thing to the test this year in all of our racing events. For more information about Lithium Ion batteries, or to see what Lithium Pros can do for you, be sure and check out their website. Stay tuned to Diesel Army as we install another Lithium model on our Project DeadSpool.