Study sees gradual, focused replacement of lead-acid SLI batteries by Li-ion batteries over next couple of years
A study by a team of researchers from Germany and South Africa forsees the gradual replacement of lead-acid SLI (starter, lighting and ignition) batteries with Li-ion batteries over the next couple of years. In a paper in the Journal of Power Sources, they suggest that the replacement will probably be specific to certain vehicle OEMs and geographical locations.
In the paper, the team reviewed a range of factors specific to the use of Li-ion as an SLI battery in light of some of the technology challenges and market opportunities.
The advantages of a lithium-ion SLI battery would primarily be in terms of its longer cycle-life and weight reduction when it is considered as a ‘drop-in’ replacement option for the existing lead-acid battery, which has dominated the SLI application market for the last 100 years.
The researchers considered aspects of safety, cost, design and testing specifications n light of the emerging European battery legislations on the use of restrictive materials in vehicles.
The researchers also concluded that the energy market sector and its use of the lead-acid battery will continue to grow with significant expansion in use for storage in renewable energy systems. This energy sector is primarily driven by the need for low-cost with reasonably long cycle-life energy storage technology, for which the lead-acid battery is well suited.
The focused replacement of the SLI with the Li-ion type battery will be for medium-to high-end ICE vehicles that are primarily based in Europe, with some that are in Asian and United States. The Pb-acid SLI battery will still continue to be in demand for the many small and cheap ICE vehicles where cost of the battery replacement will always be the deciding factor.
This would especially be true for vehicle sales in developing countries, where the issues of CO2 emission penalties often do not apply and the type of SLI battery purchased would be a simple cost factor for the owner who would see a replacement every five years as more feasible than an expensive battery. There would probably also be an increase in the sale of second-hand ICE vehicles and ELV from Europe to developing countries, as the pressure to reduce the CO2 vehicle emissions will increase.
That will see an uptake of more hybrid-, plug-in hybrids and BEVs in the EU. There will still be a need for a 12 V battery for the supply of auxiliary power that will not necessarily be a Pb-acid SLI battery. In all likelihood, these batteries would be located away from the engine compartments in hybrid vehicles and would either be a typical deep cycle 12V AGM Pb-acid type battery or an equivalent Li-ion battery with similar nominal voltages.—Ferg et al.
E.E. Ferg, F. Schuldt, J. Schmidt (2019) “The challenges of a Li-ion starter lighting and ignition battery: A review from cradle to grave,” Journal of Power Sources, Volume 423, 380-403 doi: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2019.03.063