AGM VS LITHIUM MOTORCYCLE BATTERY
When it’s time to ride your bike, you do not want its battery to hold you back.
With technology constantly evolving, an optimal battery has become a must for all modern motorcycles.
While there are different kinds of motorcycle batteries available, you need to understand the specifications of each of them to determine which battery is best for your bike’s overall performance.
Two of the most popular options for motorcyclists are modern Lithium-ion batteries and traditional AGM batteries. But which one is best for you?
Here we go head to head and drill down into the question of which is best: AGM vs Lithium Motorcycle Battery.
What happens inside a battery?
Motorcycle batteries contain electrodes that conduct electricity and an electrolyte (containing charged particles) that converts chemical energy into electrical energy.
Today, motorcycles boast advanced settings that not only improve the ride quality but also enable various driving modes by delivering different power inputs to the engine.
So, it is the battery that ensures the smooth functioning of the equipment by feeding an uninterrupted power supply.
And, most importantly, the battery cranks the engine, hopefully without any hiccups.
Let’s take a look at two of the most common types of batteries used on motorcycles these days.
What is an AGM battery?
One of the most widely used battery types, the AGM or ‘Absorbed Glass Mat’ battery was introduced as the ‘dry’ successor to the conventional flooded battery.
The AGM battery contains a distinct glass mat separator that wicks the electrolyte solution between the battery plates. This helps to store the electrolyte in a ‘suspended’ or ‘dry’ state, rather than sloshing around in free liquid form.
As the battery operates, the electrolyte is transferred from the glass mat to the battery plates as required.
Therefore, the AGM battery is often called the maintenance free battery, as it does not require any topping up with water.
Moreover, thanks to its low resistance, the AGM battery can handle higher temperatures; as a result, their self-discharge rate is as slow as 3% per month.
What is a Lithium Ion battery?
Lithium-ion batteries are the family of rechargeable batteries that have gained incredible popularity in recent years.
They are generally more efficient, lightweight and compact than AGM batteries.
A LIB consists of a lithium positive electrode and a carbon negative electrode, whereas its electrolyte consists of lithium ions in an organic solvent.
The ions move towards the positively charged electrode while discharging, and the process reverses when the battery is being charged.
AGM vs Lithium-Ion Batteries
The following differences explain the various advantages and disadvantages of AGM and lithium-ion batteries.
Size of the battery
Lead acid AGM batteries are bulky and large in comparison to lithium-ion batteries. To match the capacity of a compact lithium-ion battery a lead-acid battery would need to be around 2.5 times the size of its counterpart.
Moreover, the amount of energy generated by four cells of lithium-ion battery is equivalent to the power generated by six cells of a lead-acid battery.
Therefore, lithium-ion batteries are more compact and more energy efficient than lead-acid AGM batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries have a longer life cycle than AGM lead-acid batteries. The life cycle of a battery depends upon certain factors including discharge rate, depth of discharge (DoD) and temperature. AGM batteries are more sensitive to these factors than lithium-ion batteries.
In high temperatures in excess of 92 degrees Fahrenheit, the life cycle of the AGM batteries dips to half of what it was at more moderate temperatures. But the more resilient lithium-ion battery holds up and remains stable until temperatures exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the performance of both battery types declines in persistent cold weather, the lead-acid battery loses its capacity more rapidly than the lithium-ion battery.
AGM batteries require large quantities of raw material that are extracted through mining, arguably affecting the environment adversely.
Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, are compact and require fewer harmful materials.
Nevertheless, what gives AGM batteries the environmental edge over their newer counterpart is the fact that they can be recycled up to 97 percent.
Lithium-ion batteries are comparatively new and their recycling is not currently considered economically viable in most places.
The initial cost of lead-acid AGM batteries is low when compared to the more lithium-ion batteries. If you are looking for a battery on a tighter budget then AGM Batteries may be attractive for regions milder in temperature.
Lithium-ion batteries have a high initial cost but can endure more robust conditions.
Lead acid AGM batteries come packed as kits and require little maintenance. For a two-wheeler being used regularly, all you need is to keep the battery terminals clean. But if the two-wheeler is rarely used, the battery tends to self-discharge and the effective capacity of the battery reduces.
Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, are not very prone to self-discharge as they can remain active over a long idle period. But these batteries are charger specific and require to be charging with their specific charger compatible for the purpose.
AGM vs Lithium Motorcycle Battery – FINAL VERDICT
Batteries play a crucial role in our daily lives. While both AGM and the lithium-ion batteries have their own pros and cons, the suitability of each type of battery depends upon the various factors explained above.
A lead-acid AGM is perhaps more suitable for mild temperature conditions its rate of discharge is not extreme, whereas a Lithium-ion is best suited where size matters and a compact power source is required.
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