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Unread 09-01-2016, 09:45 PM   #1
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Default Why NOT Lithium instead of FLA?

I'm closing in on having to replace the 6x6v batteries in my 99 TXT. Planning to upgrade to 48v, so I need a new controller and charger anyway. In researching the forum, reading a couple of build posts with Lithium packs, and checking the web, it seems the prices for 6 new Trojan T875s is within a couple of hundred bucks of the 7 cell Lithium kit (Golf Cart Lithium Battery with BMS set DIY 3200Wh KT5360-15 DIY PARTS) on Hybrid Autos web site. That's the 7 cell 60 AH pack.

Why would you NOT want to take advantage of the lighter weight and longer lifespan of the lithium batteries?
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Unread 09-01-2016, 11:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Why NOT Lithium instead of FLA?

huge price jump is the only reason i can think of. the economics dont add-up if looking only at $. you could buy 2 sets of lead batteries that should last 8+ years for less than one set of lithiums that should last you 8+ years. we build them for different reasons than just $, the big selling point for lithium for our clientele is very low maintainence, no stink when charging, no water adding, no acid spilling, no corroded cables.
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Unread 09-02-2016, 05:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: Why NOT Lithium instead of FLA?

You must not forget that when lithium packs fail, they can have a tendency to fail in a BIG way! Keep a fire extinguisher handy and put the fire department number in speed dial, just in case. The Tesla motorcar pack that failed recently just made a little POP prior to everything going very wrong. Unless you really need weight savings, as in racing, it's hard to justify the expense.

I love most new technology, but it can be really hard to beat some tried and proven older technologies. If weight were not a significant factor, the Edison nickle/iron cells were probably the best option. You could run them dead with no damage, no damage from overcharging, and they last for decades. If they ever do have an issue... You dump out the electrolyte, rinse the cells out with distilled water, refill with newly mixed potassium hydroxide electrolyte solution, charge, and you're good to go for more decades. Simple and proven.

My daily driver has a Nickle Metal Hydride (NiMH) traction pack that is 13 years old, still original with original BMS, and has over 285K miles on it. It has a trailer hitch and I use it to tow from time to time. It has an 18KW onboard genset for cross-country travel. I have driven it to California and back at least a dozen times since 2010.

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Unread 09-02-2016, 05:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: Why NOT Lithium instead of FLA?

I should add, NiMH battery technology was considered such a threat to the automotive and oil industries, that GM bought controlling interest in US Ovonics, the patent holder, and used that as leverage in a lawsuit against Panasonic and Toyota. Panasonic had developed a prismatic NiMH cell and went into production in 2002. Toyota used those cells in the RAV4 EV and the Prius. That cell design is what tripled the charge/discharge rate of NiMH cells. Panasonic and Toyota settled out of court and all of the unsold RAV4 EVs had to be scrapped. GM scrapped their EV1 cars at the same time. Look for the movie, "Who Killed the Electric Car". My daily driver has those Panasonic prismatic cells, and I have 2 spare traction packs ready and waiting. You can find them at junkyards for about $500 when cars that use them get wrecked or scrapped out. The BMS and a battery computer are built into the traction pack!
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Unread 09-02-2016, 08:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Why NOT Lithium instead of FLA?

I strongly disagree! Yes - lithium is a little more expensive but the Leaf battery modules are in use and are safe and reliable. My cart is 250 lbs lighter and there is no messing with adding water or worrying about spilled acid. I can lift the entire pack my self. 110lbs. I get the equivalent of about 4 rounds of golf between charges and I don't have to keep the pack topped off to insure long life like you do with FLA. The only down side is availability. You need to be a bit of a do it yourself guy to convert. Hybrid Auto has everything you need and they are responsive and easy to work with.
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Unread 09-02-2016, 08:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: Why NOT Lithium instead of FLA?

yeah but the lithium battery pack has an expected life of 10 years and costs $2800. At $700 per set of FLA batteries, I can buy 4 sets with an expected lifespan totaling closer to 20 years with minimal maintenance.

I love the idea of lithium, but until the costs come down I just don't see it happening.
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Unread 09-02-2016, 08:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Why NOT Lithium instead of FLA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbitreborn View Post

I love the idea of lithium, but until the costs come down I just don't see it happening.
Agreed 100%.
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Unread 09-02-2016, 09:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: Why NOT Lithium instead of FLA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbitreborn View Post
yeah but the lithium battery pack has an expected life of 10 years and costs $2800.
The DIY 7 cell pack referenced in my original post is $1090. From what I gathered reading threads, 14 cell pack is not really needed. 6, 8v Trojan T-875s are over $900. Seems the couple hundred dollar buy in price + my labor would be worth it?

Lithium Pack Specifications:
Average voltage: 53.2V
Maximum charge voltage: 58.8V
Minimum voltage: 42.0V
Capacity rated: 62Ah/3300Wh
Battery type: Lithium-ion
Size assembled 13.5" x 10" x 8.75"h
Total weight: approx. 60lb.
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Unread 09-02-2016, 10:19 AM   #9
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Default Re: Why NOT Lithium instead of FLA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaxPilot View Post
The DIY 7 cell pack referenced in my original post is $1090. From what I gathered reading threads, 14 cell pack is not really needed. 6, 8v Trojan T-875s are over $900. Seems the couple hundred dollar buy in price + my labor would be worth it?

Lithium Pack Specifications:
Average voltage: 53.2V
Maximum charge voltage: 58.8V
Minimum voltage: 42.0V
Capacity rated: 62Ah/3300Wh
Battery type: Lithium-ion
Size assembled 13.5" x 10" x 8.75"h
Total weight: approx. 60lb.
I sell 6 T875 batteries for $660 plus taxes. Ends up being $715.83 with taxes out the door.

From what I have read, the 7 cell pack only gives about a 15 mile range...... I prefer my carts to go more than that.
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Unread 09-02-2016, 11:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: Why NOT Lithium instead of FLA?

I can figure out the usable Watt-Hours for Lead Acid battery packs, but I'm not sure how to do it for Li battery packs.

Anyways, using the 5Hr rating for Trojan batteries and nominal voltage, I get 6660Wh for a 36V set of T-105 batteries, but you only discharge to 50%, so 3330Wh are usable.

I get 6950Wh for a 48V set of T-875 batteries, but you only discharge to 50%, so 3480Wh are usable.

Therefore you get roughly the same range with a 36V pack of T-105's and a 48V pack of T875's.

The 3300Wh given is based on the average voltage of 53.2V, rather than max voltage, so it may be understated. Of that about 80% is usable (Charging to 90% and discharging to 10%), so you have 2640Wh usable

Of course the cart's "gas mileage" will be better with the lighter weight batteries, but it looks like you get upwards of 25% less range with the 7 module Lithium pack mention here.

Which is fairly consistent with what rabbitreborn said.
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