Charging Lithium 12V Vehicle Batteries

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We all know about the shift to lithium when it comes to the high voltage battery packs used in Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs). The headlines are almost overwhelming. But, lithium is also making its way into 12V applications that were once the exclusive territory of lead acid batteries, such as non-EV 12V starting battery applications and 12V EV battery applications.

In Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and HEV vehicles, the 12V starting battery deployed has typically been some variety of lead acid battery, usually a flooded or AGM construction. Even among newer configuration ICE and HEV vehicles that incorporate Stop-Start technology, the dominant battery type is an AGM or Stop-Start AGM battery. But lithium batteries have crept into this application over the last 5-8 years, most notably in BMW M-Series vehicles. These batteries are of the Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP) lithium battery type. The 12V battery used in most EV configurations has also typically been of the lead acid variety, again usually AGM construction. Similarly, these batteries are also transitioning to Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. In North America, the most prevalent example of this was in the Tesla models S and X in 2021.

The bottom line is that vehicle owners are going to see more and more lithium batteries in applications where they are used to seeing lead acid batteries. This means that they are going to need equipment designed to service these batteries, particularly when it comes to charging and maintaining them. Lithium batteries have different charging needs than lead acid batteries. In fact, even different lithium battery types have different charging needs. It is really important that you match your charging solution to the battery(ies) being serviced.

PL2112 Battery Charger/Maintainer

The most common 12V lithium battery type used in the North American vehicle carpark is the LiFePO4 lithium battery, as noted above. We have several PRO-LOGIX models equipped to service this growing battery type and many more on the way. For automotive LiFePO4 batteries, the PL2140 is the ideal charger/maintainer for general purpose usage. For smaller powersport LiFePO4 batteries, the 1A output of model PL2112 is more appropriate, since “low and slow is the way to go” also applies to lithium batteries (smaller batteries want lower current). Both models feature precise charging logic, a recovery mode to overcome power outages, multiple output options and the ability to also properly service LiFePO4 Lithium, Flooded, AGM, Spiral Would, Deep Cycle and Marine batteries.

When it comes to lithium battery charging, we’ve got you covered!

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