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Updated : 21/10/2017.  

   Battery charger repairs, most makes catered for. Elektroblock EBL 99 repairs at £130



LITHIUM ION Batteries - The way we see it, without the marketing hype.

Have you heard the marketing that Lithium batteries are the only technology that will discharge to lower than 95% Depth Of Discharge (DOD) and survive? 

That no Lead Acid battery can match it's 2,000 charge/discharge cycles?

So how come one of the best battery manufacturers in the World, Victron Energy, claim to have a Lead Acid battery that is designed and GUARANTEED to survive discharge to 100% DOD? It's Sister has up to a 4,500 cycle life.

Yes you did read that right, Lead Acid batteries that discharge right down to 100% DOD and up to 4,500 cycles.

There are advanced technology Lead Acid batteries with a 12 year and 20 year life and up to 4,500 cycles that will repeatedly discharge to 80% and outperform Lithiums in almost every area.

Victron Energy also have a 'Super Deep Discharge' Lead Acid Battery that is designed to discharge right down to 100% Depth Of Discharge (DOD), yet still give a useful number of cycles.  

Don't believe me? Have a look here on the Victron website :  and click on Super Cycle battery.

Data sheet here : 

Victron Super Cycle battery.pdf Victron Super Cycle battery.pdf
Size : 114.379 Kb
Type : pdf

The data sheet above confirms the battery exists and Victron's reputation says it will perform. The guarantee is money back if it doesn't.

Those are characteristics that the 'Lithium marketing bandwagon' say a Lead Acid battery doesn't have. So are they pretending ignorance of exactly what is available? 

Or do they know what is available but disregard it because it doesn't fit the 'Marketing strategy' for what is a very, very expensive high profit item?  

The reality is that the best Lead batteries will out cycle Lithiums, are only a little heavier, than a LiFePo4 AND some will discharge deeper than a Lithium. 

But if you compare Lithium to wet acid on a £ for £ comparison, you can install 10 quality Boch 5 year life batteries, one after the other, with a total 50 year life and 4,000 cycles. All for half the cost of the avaerage Lithium battery with supporting electronics and installation.

How does Lithium make sense just on that basis? 

Lets take a look at just exactly what 'Lithium Ion' batteries are?

Lithium Ion batteries come in several technological flavours. The more common ones are  :

Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2

Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn2O4)

Lithium Nickel Oxide (LiNiO2)

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) 

The above are all Lithium Ion technologies, there may be other derivatives. It is correct to refer to this group as 'Lithium Ion' batteries as that is the chemistry under which the group operate.

However, the addition of trace elements into their make-up can have quite a dramatic effect on behaviour.

For example, there have been documented reports of Lithium Ion Cobalt technology bursting into flames when worked hard. Suggest that if you think about using this technology in the Motorhome, you first check your Insurance covers the fitment?


It is interesting that Wikipedia notes that most Electric vehicle fires were down to Lithium Ion batteries, which the current crop of vehicles no longer use. According to Wiki, Lithium has been replaced by Nickel Metal Hydride 

Wiki quotes : 

"Several plug-in electric vehicle fire incidents have taken place since the introduction of mass-production plug-in electric vehicles in 2010. Most of them have been thermal runaway incidents related to the lithium-ion batteries and have involved the Zotye M300 EVChevrolet VoltFisker KarmaDodge Ram 1500 Plug-in HybridToyota Prius Plug-in HybridMitsubishi i-MiEV and Outlander P-HEV

Most hybrid electric vehicles available in the market today use nickel-metal hydride batteries which do not pose the same risk of thermal runaway as lithium-ion batteries".

The sources I have found suggest Tesla still use Lithium Ion Cobalt, which now might explain this :

Does that mean that Nickel Metal Hydride is the new battery of choice and Lithium Iron is already 'old news'?


The Lithium technology being promoted as the technology for Motorhomes, is Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) with claimed cycle life of up to 2,000 Charge/Discharge cycles. 

However note that LiFePo4 batteries, while safer with a longer cycle life, are heavier than previous Lithium technology. They have less capacity than Lithium Cobalt batteries so the batteries need to be physically bigger/heavier. 

Just like the false claims of out performing Lead Acid batteries cycle life and depth of discharge cited above, take with a 'Pinch of Salt' radical claims of weight savings. 

Some 'marketing' uses the false premise that a Lithium battery pack is lighter weight because it's 'capacity is double' therefore you need only 'Half' the battery capacity.

They claim a Lithium can discharge to 100% (severely shortened life, of even damage, will result if you do) and that Lead Acid batteries "can only discharge" to 40% DOD.

Yet most quality 75Ah batteries weigh only about 19kg can discharge to 80% DOD, versus the average Lithium at 10kg.

If you add to the Lithium battery argument all the extra weight from the required specialised charging systems, massively thick/heavy Copper cabling and Electronics required for Lithium, the real weight difference is not evan a bag of Sugar. 


Note the LiFePo4 'claimed' cycle life of 2,000 cycles is the best you will achieve under ideal conditions, not the average life a Motorhome owner might achieve. 

Exactly like Lead Acid batteries, Lithium battery cycle life is dependent on how they are used :

The current drawn and for how long.

The charging rate, current and time.

The depth to which they are discharged.

The charger voltage and sophistication.

The NDS LiFePo4 battery documentation states :

"* The number of cycles quoted is purely indicative as it depends on several factors such as environmental conditions, discharge depth, charge/discharge current, and so on *". 


Exactly like a Lead Acid battery.

Don't underestimate the impact some of these factors have on battery life. For example just a 10 degree temperature rise for many batteries can literally half it's life. While Lithium technologies will discharge deeply and operate at high discharge currents, there is usually a big penalty in reduced cycle life, up to half the lost life may be typical with such use.

Generally the less the Lithium battery is discharged, the more likely they are to achieve their cycle life. Using anything except a Lithium optimised charger is also generally accepted to result in shortened life. 

Taking all the above into account, I would be surprised if many opting for Lithium in the very unique environment of a Motorhome, see even 25% of the claimed life. 

To qualify that statement, much of the marketing focuses on Lithiums High current capablity, deep discharge, ultra fast charging, etc. the exact features that result in short life. 

Add in that many will be used in Summer at 'High temperature' destinations abroad and you can see the impact on cycle life will be major.

To further support that, Exide publish the chart below for their Lead batteries showing how the deeper you discharge, the fewer the life cycles available :


If you look at the top line on the graph it shows how the Exide G80/ES900 Gel battery will return over 1,000 cycles at 25% Depth Of Discharge, but only about 20 cycles at 100% DOD, so how deep it discharges has a massive impact on battery cycle life. 

The ratios of loss may be different so I would love to see a similar Lithium battery manufacturers graph depicting the same cycle life at 100% DOD and 25% DOD so we can estimate real world life time. 

Strange you never see them published, don't you think? Or that these journalists who write about their installation don't cover such a crucial point?


Before you get absorbed into the huge expense of Lithium batteries with their 'claimed' 8 - 10 year life, specialist supporting electronics and unknown real world performance in a Motorhome environment, take a look at Victrons 12 year life Gel batteries. 

Victron Energy's Deep Cycle/Long Life Gel's have a claimed 1,500/4,500 cycles and a 12/20 year design life, yet are compatible with almost all Motorhome electronics.These Gel batteries have a World Wide reputation for quality and long life. One of the highest regarded battery companies in the world. 

While £280 (average price) is expensive for a 110A Gel battery, their 12 year life makes them a bargain compared to Lithium. 

Their performance makes a mockery of the majority of Lithium retailers comparison claims. See the evidence of these Gel batteries for yourself  :

Click on the above link and then select the Gel and AGM Batteries to download the very easy to read data sheet and read about the Long Life Gel. 

We are not recommending these Long Life Gel batteries as they are big, just highlighting they are available which goes against the Lithium marketing bandwagon. 

Most of the information on the web on Lithium batteries comes from someone wanting to sell them. It isn't always honest.
They sometimes make comparisons against the very worst of Lead Acid battery technology, when there are Lead Acid batteries, at much lower cost than Lithium, that either come close to Lithium capability or exceed it. 

In my experience every Lithium technology to date has failed to live up to the promises of long life. Every Lithium battery I have ever had : Phone, laptop, Drill, etc. has had much shorter life than the 'claimed' cycle life. 
I know this is different technology to LiFePo4, but they all failed to live up to the marketing promise, including the DeWalt Gun which did have LiFePo4 batteries yet had a two year life. 
History suggests this latest Lithium technology will also fail to deliver on promises.

How many reading this have had a phone whose Lithium battery slowly lost capacity, starting off at a once a week charge, but dropped to needing a 'charge each day' before 18 months had passed? 
When you think about that in detail, your battery has gone from 4 days of usefulness to just one day usability, that is 75% lost capacity. 
Equate that 'characteristic' to a Lithium battery in your Motorhome habitation area, it starts off giving four days 'off grid' but half way through it's '2,000 cycles' it is lasting less than a day? 

The big battery companies tend to only quote 'useful' cycles, i.e above 80% capacity. 
Some of the less honest companies quote all cycles, even if that cycle gives up just 10Ah of a 100Ah battery, it counts as a cycle.  

The only real area in which Lithium exceeds the best of Lead habitation batteries is in the area of very high discharge/charge current. 
LiFePo4 batteries handle discharge currents up to 100amps per 100Ah battery, but at the expense of lost cycle life as a side effect.

Whereas 100AH Lead acid battery will start to suffer degradation above a 30amp discharge/charge rate.      

For a good read on Lithium, try Wiki's :

While LiFePo4 batteries can tolerate discharges to very low levels like 80% DOD with shortened life, if you take them down below 95% discharge (like leave them without charging over winter) they can be destroyed.

Those are seriously expensive consequences for a mistake which is easily made. 

May I point out the obvious that while a Lithium battery has a claimed 10 year life it is  also 12 times more expensive than the best Lead Acid batteries? 
For a £750 expenditure on three Victron 10 year life batteries you could install one after the other for a 30 year life. 

For just a little bit more weight and less money, you could install 12 Varta LFD90's one after the other.
A new LFD90 battery fitted each year for 10 years, for half the cost of a single LiFePo4 battery with it's installation/integration costs.
When you compare Lithium to Lead on a £ for £ basis, Lithium doesn't make sense to me.

Do Any Mainstream Motorhome Manufacturers Either Fit Lithium as Standard Or Recommend Them in Mainstream Products? 

We know of no Motorhomes that currently design their habitation area electronics around Lithium batteries, which require specialist electronics to achieve the claimed cycle life. 

There are a few that shoehorn in a Lithium pack into the existing infrastructure, but we would strongly advise you treat these Motorhome builders with GREAT caution unless the Warranty on the equipment is unlimited and covers the claims of 'Ten year life'. 

Most LiFePo4 have very short, very restrictive Warranties with so many exclusions that it may be impossible to make a  realistic claim. That on it's own should make you wary.

We do know of several Motorhomes that will fry their Lithiums if they are not integrated properly and many more that may become a fire risk
Therefore, a Lithium battery has to have it's own specialised power supplies and, usually, it's own built in Power controller.

Some Lithium Iron battery professional installers create a bodge that effectively isolates the battery from the existing Motorhome Charger/Power Controller so things no longer work as designed. 

How will that work out if the electronics in the battery fail while on holiday in Spain? 
The Spanish technician at 'Manuel Motorhomes of Barcelona' won't be able to just fit a battery as a temporary measure. The old Installation 'bodge' will need to be undone, which will need detailed knowledge of how it was all 'integrated'. 
How many times will Manuel mutter 'Qeh'? before wandering away muttering, 'I know nothing'?

Batteries are the single biggest cause of issues in Motorhomes, why make it so complicated the battery can't even be swapped over by Fred the Caravan Man in Frinton, let alone Manuel in Barcelona?

Of course that all wouldn't be an issue if the warranty was 10 years and covered flying out a new battery pack to Manuel with all the support, language and technical help, he needs. 

But they don't. Did you know that some of these extra long life, super heavy duty, ultra mega cycle life Lithium battery packs have a Warranty less than the average Lead Acid battery?  
Have a read of one of them. 
There are so many exclusions, your chances of claiming for a cup of tea while you wait three weeks in a Hotel in Norway will be limited.
I am not saying it says, "if you have used the battery once the cover is void", but 3 years warranty on a "10 year life" product is abymsmal, when ordinary Lead Acid batteries have a 3 year warranty and Bosch Batteries 5 years.

Doesn't that suggest that even the manufacturer thinks Lithium battery packs have a question mark over them?

Long term reliability and usability will, in our opinion, be compromised. Trying to get anyone to look at any issues 6 months down the line may be a challenge, even assuming they understand both batteries and Sargent, Schaudt, Nordelettronica, etc  Power Controllers.

One had been fitted into an Autotrail with a Sargent EC328 Charger/power controller, yet it is universally known that this charger puts out 18v to boost charge it's Lead Acid batteries. 
You can guess what the cycle life of the LiFePo4 battery became after being fried with 18v?  

In all cases the owners were disappointed with the actual amount of useable power they got from the battery. In our limited testing, all three batteries had lost significant capacity, yet were all less than 2 years old.

The worst was an EZA130 which gave back less than half it's 'rated' capacity before the BMS shutdown and stopped all power being drawn.
Whether that was a fault in the Lithium cells or the BMS malfunctioning I have no idea.

The EZA 130 documentation specificaly states that the charger must be disconnected once the battery is fully charged.
Long term 'Trickle' charging a Lithium power pack is something that will reduce it's life.
Yet it is not unusual for Motorhomes to be left on permanent EHU AND for Solar to be permanently charging the battery during daylight hours. 

I don't know if being left on long term EHU was the issue with this EZA 130, but it did have permanent Solar.

Lithium (or Nickel-Metal Hydride?) might be the future, but lets wait until the infrastucture, battery chargers, wiring, etc is in place ready for them. 

Just because some techno wizzkid has fitted Lithium with great results in his Motorhome, doesn't mean your 'Professional' fit install will be as successful. 
Nor does it mean the 'wizzkid' is on target for 10 year life when it has only been 2 years into his 'project'.
Those people fitting Lithium pack themselves, generally have a huge amount of background knowledge that enables them to both integrate it correctly AND get the best from it in use. Because they generally understand batteries and battery technology, they can use that knowledge to not only get the best from the system, but manage 'features' of the technology.

Be wary about taking advice from such people as they tend to have spent a huge amount of time/money on their project and tend to get very 'protective' about being thought a fool.

Where a Lithium pack might work well is on an old motorhome that has a very basic electrical set-up serving the habitation area.
That would allow a Lithium pack to be introduced as a total entity to become the new central hub of the infrastructure along with all new high capacity, fire resistant wiring. Plus a  new high powered 200+ amp Alternator variable voltage controller to match the demands of a Lithium pack, etc.
Then again, the best of modern 12 year life Lead Acid batteries will probably perform just as well for most people, at less than a quarter of the cost?