///// lithium iron car batteries /////

Andyinchville1

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2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
Hi all,

Been doing a lot of reading on lithium batteries and weight reduction.

I know lithium batteries are typically very expensive especially when buying them through companies such as Braille or anti gravity but recently I stumbled on some lithium iron batteries with very good specifications and light weight ( I've seen batteries as high as 2200 cold cranking amps with Reserve capacity of 100 amp hours weighing about 25 lb costing about $600 .... yes still expensive when compared to regular lead acid but someone cheaper when compared to the name brands.

I found these batteries on eBay and yes they come from China .... gulp.

Anyways has anybody here use lithium batteries for their car?

I do delivery work and I know when I put a five gallon bucket of paint in the back the car feels heavier...

I'm thinking lopping off 25 or more pounds from the front end has to make for a better handling more Nimble car ... not to mention some serious cranking amps for the upcoming winter

What are your thoughts on this abd has anybody here use lithium as far as a battery yet?

Andrew

Ps - about a week or two ago I bought one of those small portable jump-starting boxes from Costco..
It's the one that sells what about $55 and it is Lithium powered and super tiny I don't think the thing even weighs 2 lb. ...

Anyways for some reason my car battery was dead barely turning over.... I use this little jump starter and it got my car started and according to the LCD gauge I only use 6% of the power to get one start so I'm totally sold on that little unit...
Graham said it didn't turn the car over with the Vigor of a full-size fully charged battery but it was enough to get me started and not have to get a jump... so with that small event I do look somewhat favorably on lithium ion as a lightweight yet powerful source of power.
 

ZippyNH

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Southern NH
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2015 JETTA TDI SE
Park outside... battery gets cold...they loose much more power due to cold...
Li-fe batteries are actually often sold with heating pads and sensors that can be hooked to the BCM...if the battery gets too cold, it will be shut off by the BCM to prevent damage, unfortunately many of the cheapest batteries simply don't have the switch turned on in the software, net results, charge your new battery ONCE when too cold, and permanent damage results.
My suggestion...wait another 5-10 years.....
 

TurboABA

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I do delivery work and I know when I put a five gallon bucket of paint in the back the car feels heavier...

I'm thinking lopping off 25 or more pounds from the front end has to make for a better handling more Nimble car ...
Wait.... what? :unsure:
You can feel 25lbs in a street vehicle "handling" doing deliveries?
Dude, go be a racecar driver.... you're clearly wasting your talent doing deliveries!

Talk about being "one with the car".
 

Andyinchville1

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Apr 7, 2016
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Virginia
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2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
Park outside... battery gets cold...they loose much more power due to cold...
Li-fe batteries are actually often sold with heating pads and sensors that can be hooked to the BCM...if the battery gets too cold, it will be shut off by the BCM to prevent damage, unfortunately many of the cheapest batteries simply don't have the switch turned on in the software, net results, charge your new battery ONCE when too cold, and permanent damage results.
My suggestion...wait another 5-10 years.....
HI,

You know that was interesting about the Lithium batteries and the cold .... I would assume the car batteries would have figured that out already ?

I did read that by using electricity the battery would "self heat" .... Maybe cycle the glow plugs a few times , run the blower and lights a bit before cranking to "warm" the battery up so it can start accepting a charge once the car fires up (that of course assumes that the on board Battery Management is non there and you are "manually" warming up the battery...

Even though the battery is light (compared to stock) it would be a pain to have to plug in a battery blanket or take in in for the night to keep it warm....

I'll research more (on the other hand to be really safe maybe use the lithium battery only when it is warm out and use the 50 lb lead acid battery in the winter time for added weight up front for better snow traction ). .... kinda like people swapping out tires for the winter only with batteries .....

I really want to try light weight up front (between that and a carbon fiber hood the car should feel really great!).

I may even try calling Braille here in a bit and ask them about the cold.. (of course the chinese batteries may not have the same systems in place).

Andrew
 

Zak99b5

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Albany NY
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2003 Jetta TDI
What's involved with getting a 20 year-old automotive alternator to charge a lithium battery properly?
 

Windex

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Cambridge
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05 B5V 01E FRF
Li-Ion batteries are very sensitive to charge voltage.

A much easier solution would be to run cabling back to the trunk and relocate the battery there. Same effect to lighten the fr ok my end, far less cost.
 

Andyinchville1

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Virginia
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2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
HI,

So I spoke with somebody over at Braille today to learn more about their batteries and lithium batteries in general

I expressed my concern about the cold but their guy did not seem overly concerned about it and basically said something along the lines of.... if you don't let your car sit for extended periods of time of non use (so the core gets to about 20 degrees F or lower there was no real concern (he did say their batteries have been OK down to about 0 to 10 F ( I put a range in since I could not remember if he said 0 or 10) BUT if you got the core to temps that low ( or near there ) you should use some electricity for about a minute or so to "warm " up the battery so it can better accept a charge without issues ( I asked him if cycling the glow plugs , running the head lights , and blower motor for about a minute would be good and he seemed to think that was fine to help warm the battery up (use of electricity warms up the battery).

I asked him about their battery management system and how it regulates charge rates etc .... he said they do not have that since they use quality cells that handle cold better , are matched for voltage and resistance etc so the BMS was not needed .... just maybe use electricity for a minute or so when its around 20 degrees or so to help the battery out and for longer life.

I told him our stock battery was about 80 AH capacity .... with that he directed me to an approximate 20 AH Lithium battery saying that was approximately the equivalent (appears LI batteries put out high voltage until they are nearly dead whereas Lead acid voltage tapers off fast as power is used and that is why the smaller battery in LI is about the same as a higher AH rated lead battery.

The battery he recommended comes in a case the size of our stock battery (just lighter and not filled up inside) but the same form factor for easy bolt in.

I think the battery with the AH he recommended would weigh about 10 LBS !! .... A 40 LB savings ... THAT is pretty significant.

Plus supposedly the life would be upwards of 10 to 15 years.

They do offer customizations for free (like heat insulation PKG , lip along the batter case lengthwise so our battery hold downs will work) etc...

Having said all that (and to keep from totally sounding like a Braille Fanboy) ..... now the price .....

How about a wallet "lightening" $999 ...... ( I don't even know if that included shipping ..... :-o )

Having learned all that, I will probably see how much an eBay Chinese battery of about 20 AH costs .... just out of curiosity ....

Admittedly the weight savings is awfully tempting.

Well back to researching ! (too bad I replaced my factory battery not too long ago).

Andrew
 

Andyinchville1

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Apr 7, 2016
Location
Virginia
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2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
Li-Ion batteries are very sensitive to charge voltage.

A much easier solution would be to run cabling back to the trunk and relocate the battery there. Same effect to lighten the fr ok my end, far less cost.
I'm not sure "easier" (unless on the wallet then it definitely is ! ;-) ) ....

I have thought about that BUT The biggest block for me is how to run the cables (technically , this would help with weight distribution) BUT would ADD weight (battery box, thick multistrand welding cables, safety fuse / shut off etc...).

Has anybody done the relocate thing with clear pictures on cable routing ? I have see a few threads BUT not super detailed on how to run / protect the cables).

Andrew
 
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Cuzoe

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Los Angeles
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MK7 Golf S
Don't know what you drive, but good thread on the MK7 forum here...
 

PakProtector

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AnnArbor, MI
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BMW runs a 4S set of about 70A-h iron phosphate cells. No low temp cutout. Can't remember the cell supplier. We used 'em for a forklift project on a 36V nominal system at 9P.

Douglas
 

Andyinchville1

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Virginia
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2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
I was leaning towards this battery (built in jump start function also) ...... saw it on eBay

Braille and Anti gravity were super expensive comparatively



Andrew
 

Zak99b5

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Location
Albany NY
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2003 Jetta TDI
I was leaning towards this battery (built in jump start function also) ...... saw it on eBay

Braille and Anti gravity were super expensive comparatively



Andrew
It says in the listing not to use a charger designed for lead/acid batteries.

I believe that describes the charging system in our cars...
 

Andyinchville1

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Virginia
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2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
Don't know what you drive, but good thread on the MK7 forum here...
Interesting read.....

I'm not a vcds guru but is there a battery adaptation on mk iv cars?

What would happen if you don't use a battery adaptation ... I'm not sure that was ever answered in the article

Just trying to learn all I can before possibly taking the pluge to lithium.
 

jayb79

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Joined
May 20, 2000
Location
Exeter,NH
Lithium batteries (Li-ion and or LiFePo4) are very likely to be damaged if charged at temps below freezing. For automotive use Lithium Iron is preferred because the cell voltage is correct, 4 cells at resting voltage is 13.3v and it is very stable battery chemistry that will not burst into flames as Li-ion will. If you get a lithium battery for your car be sure it has "Low-temperature protection" built-in.

The excerpt below is from Battery University, lots of great info on that site.

"Li ion can be fast charged from 5°C to 45°C (41 to 113°F). Below 5°C, the charge current should be reduced, and no charging is permitted at freezing temperatures because of the reduced diffusion rates on the anode. During charge, the internal cell resistance causes a slight temperature rise that compensates for some of the cold. The internal resistance of all batteries rises when cold, prolonging charge times noticeably.

Many battery users are unaware that consumer-grade lithium-ion batteries cannot be charged below 0°C (32°F). Although the pack appears to be charging normally, plating of metallic lithium can occur on the anode during a sub-freezing charge. This is permanent and cannot be removed with cycling. Batteries with lithium plating are more vulnerable to failure if exposed to vibration or other stressful conditions. Advanced chargers (Cadex) prevent charging Li-ion below freezing.

Advancements are being made to charge Li-ion below freezing temperatures. Charging is indeed possible with most lithium-ion cells but only at very low currents. According to research papers, the allowable charge rate at –30°C (–22°F) is 0.02C. At this low current, the charge time would stretch to over 50 hours, a time that is deemed impractical. There are, however, specialty Li-ions that can charge down to –10°C (14°F) at a reduced rate."
 

Andyinchville1

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2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
It says in the listing not to use a charger designed for lead/acid batteries.

I believe that describes the charging system in our cars...
Hi

That is an interesting point that you bring up but I think they're mainly referring to the separate battery chargers that people use at home to charge batteries .... the ones that plug into the wall to charge or trickle charge batteries not the charging system in the car ..... if the charging system in the car was to be excluded how or why would they call it an automotive battery?

On the flip side I do know that some race cars run strictly on battery power elimining the alternator altogether and then they would have to charge with a separate plug in type battery charger but that one would have to be specifically made to charge lithium batteries.

Other than really small lithium batteries like those used in phones or in some cases flashlights I really haven't had much experience with lithium

The closest I've come to lithium batteries for automotive use so far has been my little jump starter box which worked really well by getting my car started the other day when my car was practically dead.... the charges by using the little plug-in from my phone charger.
 

2004LB7

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California
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2006 Jetta
if you are looking for weight reduction, nothing will beat super capacitors like I have in mine. I've been using 3k farad super caps as my starting battery for almost 10 years now. if you want cranking amps this is where it's at. if you want cycling life, these are also at the top. cold temp tolerance, yep. only drawback is reserve capacity which is quite low but does not seem to be an issue if you don't run the radio or other accessories with the engine off. another bonus is it's fully charged in less than 10 seconds after starting
 

Andyinchville1

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Location
Virginia
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2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
if you are looking for weight reduction, nothing will beat super capacitors like I have in mine. I've been using 3k farad super caps as my starting battery for almost 10 years now. if you want cranking amps this is where it's at. if you want cycling life, these are also at the top. cold temp tolerance, yep. only drawback is reserve capacity which is quite low but does not seem to be an issue if you don't run the radio or other accessories with the engine off. another bonus is it's fully charged in less than 10 seconds after starting
HI,

You know that is interesting ..... I saw a capacitor battery at the local battery place once awhile back I forgot about that.... crazy light ( I almost thought it was just a demo empty case)!

Yesterday, when I spoke with the local Battery and Bulb to see what their prices were on a Lithium battery .... we had a long discussion on many things battery and car related but the man there , when briefly talking about capacitor batteries, said they were only used in big rig applications solely for starting purposes because the regular batteries handled the standby loads.

When you say not much reserve capacity .... how many AH is that rated for ? what / where did you get it?

I don't run any accessories after I stop and get out except the dash can runs 24/7 and maybe the computer stays awake when the car is off? ... Of course there is a small draw from the cell phone charger I leave in also ..... other than that no electric use after I shut the car down...

I was going to work but now you got me curious about capacitor batteries! HA

Andrew
 

2004LB7

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Jun 2, 2013
Location
California
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2006 Jetta
HI,

You know that is interesting ..... I saw a capacitor battery at the local battery place once awhile back I forgot about that.... crazy light ( I almost thought it was just a demo empty case)!

Yesterday, when I spoke with the local Battery and Bulb to see what their prices were on a Lithium battery .... we had a long discussion on many things battery and car related but the man there , when briefly talking about capacitor batteries, said they were only used in big rig applications solely for starting purposes because the regular batteries handled the standby loads.

When you say not much reserve capacity .... how many AH is that rated for ? what / where did you get it?

I don't run any accessories after I stop and get out except the dash can runs 24/7 and maybe the computer stays awake when the car is off? ... Of course there is a small draw from the cell phone charger I leave in also ..... other than that no electric use after I shut the car down...

I was going to work but now you got me curious about capacitor batteries! HA

Andrew
the reserve capacity is literally about as much as a AA battery. if you leave the car off for several days it will be too discharged to start. I put a 20 watt flexible solar panel on my roof and a small charge controller to manage the voltage. no issues with keeping it charged. if I happen to run it down, several hours in the sun is enough to get the engine started. I'll try to get some photos later

as for the weight, about 10 lbs. I use 6x Maxwell 3k 2.875 volt caps. something like this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Maxwell-56...2349624.m46890.l49286&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0 except when I got mine they weren't that known and popular so the price was only about $120. i haven't used any balance circuit and they have always stayed balanced. I used to measure it weekly but after time I say no drift so I moved it once a month then about once a year.

I also installed 4x LiFePO 18650 cells with a small balancer wired in series to the caps via a 5 ohm resistor to keep the charge and discharge rate low enough. helps with reserve capacity a little
 

shakescreek

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I've been running a lithium battery in my tdi jetboat for a couple of years now. Didn't want to spend the big bucks for a quality one like a Braille, so bought a cheap chinese one for about $250 shipped from aliexpress just for an experiment (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000112511257.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.7e664c4dHKSGnW). So far I've been really impressed with it. The engine spins over faster and starts quicker than any lead acid battery I've had in it, due I think to the higher voltage it puts out. It also holds full voltage right to the end rather than dropping off with cranking like a lead acid does. With the lithium it cranks very fast right up until it is discharged to the point where it shuts off and doesn't crank at all. Down side is it doesn't halve a lot of endurance if you need to crank for extended periods of time, such as if you run the engine out of fuel. Being in a boat i don't run it in temperatures below about -5C*, so I don't have any experience with it in cold temperatures, from what I've read on lithiums though I don't expect it would work well in the winters with my climate here(temps can get as low as -40). That said I know some guys are running them in snowmobiles these days and don't seem to have problems. As far as charging goes the one I bought says it should be charged at 14.4 volts. The alternator on my tdi seems to hold it at 14.1 or 14.2 well it's running and that doesn't seem to cause any problems. It will be interesting to see how many years I get out of it, 5 years is the best I've got out of a lead acid. and that was a Braille B3121.
 

2004LB7

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Jun 2, 2013
Location
California
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2006 Jetta
I've been running a lithium battery in my tdi jetboat for a couple of years now. Didn't want to spend the big bucks for a quality one like a Braille, so bought a cheap chinese one for about $250 shipped from aliexpress just for an experiment (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000112511257.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.7e664c4dHKSGnW). So far I've been really impressed with it. The engine spins over faster and starts quicker than any lead acid battery I've had in it, due I think to the higher voltage it puts out. It also holds full voltage right to the end rather than dropping off with cranking like a lead acid does. With the lithium it cranks very fast right up until it is discharged to the point where it shuts off and doesn't crank at all. Down side is it doesn't halve a lot of endurance if you need to crank for extended periods of time, such as if you run the engine out of fuel. Being in a boat i don't run it in temperatures below about -5C*, so I don't have any experience with it in cold temperatures, from what I've read on lithiums though I don't expect it would work well in the winters with my climate here(temps can get as low as -40). That said I know some guys are running them in snowmobiles these days and don't seem to have problems. As far as charging goes the one I bought says it should be charged at 14.4 volts. The alternator on my tdi seems to hold it at 14.1 or 14.2 well it's running and that doesn't seem to cause any problems. It will be interesting to see how many years I get out of it, 5 years is the best I've got out of a lead acid. and that was a Braille B3121.
the difference between 14 volts and 14.4 volts is probably only a few percent capacity increase and not really worth it unless you are shooting for max capacity. the lower voltage will help in cycle life. the max you can probably push the cells and still be safe is 3.8 volts which is 15.2 volts when you stack four of them together. this is assuming you are using LiFePO which is really the only lithium battery chemistry available right now that works with the voltage range in automotive use

for those looking to do something similar I'd check out Will Prowse' YouTube channel. he has quite a few reviews of different cells from aliexpress and others. he also has good information on BMS' and other solar related equipment. there's bound to be a video that will answer your questions
 
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