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[Full Guide] How Long Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Last?

08 May 2023
How Long Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Last

As the world shifts towards clean energy and sustainable sources, Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) batteries have become increasingly popular. These batteries, with their high energy density and long life-span, have revolutionized the battery industry. However, one question that arises in the minds of many users is "how long do Lithium-Ion batteries last?" In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and how LiFePO4 batteries, an advanced type of Lithium-Ion batteries, compare in terms of lifespan.

Part 1: What are lithium-ion batteries?

Lithium-ion batteries, including Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, are rechargeable batteries that use lithium ions as the primary component of their electrolyte. LiFePO4 batteries offer several advantages over other types of batteries, including longer lifespan, higher efficiency and energy density, lower maintenance requirements, safety, and environmental friendliness. These qualities make them ideal for off-grid power systems, high-powered applications, and mobility applications.

As a starting battery, Li-ion batteries are often used in vehicles due to their high energy density and lightweight nature. They are well-suited for this application because they can provide a short burst of high current to start the engine. Li-ion batteries used as starting batteries are usually of a smaller capacity and should not be discharged too deeply to avoid damage to the battery.

On the other hand, LiFePO4 batteries excel as deep-cycle batteries. They are capable of withstanding frequent, deep discharges, making them ideal for renewable energy storage and other deep-cycle applications. They have a longer cycle life than Li-ion batteries and can deliver high-power applications over extended periods. Learn more differences between these 2 kinds of battery from Lifepo4 Vs Lithium-Ion Batteries: Which One Should You Choose?

starter vs deep cycle battery

Part 2: How Long Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Last?

On average, a standard Li-ion battery lasts for 2-3 years, depending on its usage. However, this lifespan can extend up to five years if the battery is well-maintained and used as per the manufacturer's instructions. Li-ion batteries are also sensitive to temperature, and high temperatures can significantly reduce their lifespan. It is critical to store your Li-ion battery in a dry and cool place to avoid exposure to heat and prolong its life.

LiFePO4 batteries are a more advanced and sustainable type of Li-ion battery that is becoming increasingly popular in the battery industry. These batteries have a longer lifespan than standard Li-ion batteries, up to 10 years or more. LiFePO4 batteries are also highly stable and safe, providing a more reliable and sustainable solution for off-grid power and mobility applications.

One significant advantage of LiFePO4 batteries is their ability to handle more charge and discharge cycles. While standard Li-ion batteries can handle up to 500-1000 cycles, LiFePO4 batteries can handle up to 2000 cycles, making them a more durable and cost-effective solution in the long run. The Litime LiFePO4 battery’s life cycle can up to 4000- 15000 cycles, which can be used for more than 10 years,and it's the perfect alternative to lead-acid deep cycle battery. Additionally, LiFePO4 batteries are much safer than standard Li-ion batteries, as they are less prone to overheat or explode due to their chemical makeup.

litime 12v 100ah mini vs lead acid

LiTime offers high-quality LiFePO4 batteries that are designed to last longer, be more efficient, and sustainable. We provide a range of battery sizes and capacities, making them suitable for various off-grid power and mobility applications. LiTime takes pride in the quality and durability of their batteries, which are thoroughly tested to ensure customer satisfaction.

Part 3: Factors that influence the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries

According to the research A STUDY OF THE FACTORS THAT AFFECT LITHIUM ION BATTERY DEGRADATION, here are the factors that could influence the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries.

3.1 During Storage

1) Temperature 

The major cause of battery capacity loss during storage is temperature, with higher temperatures leading to thermal decomposition of the electrodes and electrolyte.

Electrolyte decomposition enhances solid electrolyte interface (SEI) film thickness on the anode, consuming lithium ions, increasing cell IR, and reducing battery capacity. The decomposition also generates gases, increasing internal pressure and posing safety risks. As shown in Table 3.1, Li-ion batteries stored under identical SOC (40%) lose varying percentages of their capacity over one year at different temperatures.

The degree of degradation increases with higher temperatures. Furthermore, extreme temperatures significantly accelerate capacity loss. A 25°C increase from 0°C to 25°C only causes a 2% increase in capacity loss, while a 20°C increase from 40°C to 60°C results in a 10% increase in capacity loss.

Factors that influence the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries

table 3.1

Temperatures exceeding 30°C are considered stressful environments for Lithium-ion batteries and can result in substantial calendar-life loss. To extend battery life, it is advisable to store Li-ion batteries at temperatures ranging from 5°C to 20°C.

2) State of Charge (SOC)

Li-ion batteries exhibit an increase in open circuit voltage (OCV) as the state of charge (SOC) increases, as illustrated in Figure 3.2. When stored, a higher battery SOC leads to a higher OCV. However, high OCV can prompt solid electrolyte interface (SEI) growth and trigger electrolyte oxidation within Li-ion batteries, resulting in capacity loss and increased internal resistance (IR).

Factors that influence the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries
figure 3.2

Figure 3.3 demonstrates varying degradation rates of Li-ion batteries at different SOCs over ten years of storage. The remaining capacity of Li-ion batteries depletes more rapidly with increasing SOC levels.

State of Charge affect lifespan of li-ion battery

figure 3.3

To minimize battery degradation and extend battery lifespan, it is advisable to maintain Li-ion batteries at a moderate SOC level. It is recommended to charge or discharge Li-ion batteries to around 50% SOC before storing them.

3.2 During cycling

1) Temperature

While increased temperature during battery operation can temporarily improve battery performance, prolonged cycling under high temperature shortens battery lifespan. A battery operated at 30°C has a reduced cycle life by 20%, while at 45°C, the battery would only last half as long as it would at 20°C.

Manufacturers specify batteries' nominal operating temperature at 27°C to prolong battery runtime. In contrast, extremely low temperatures increase battery internal resistance and decrease discharge capacity. A battery that provides 100% capacity at 27°C (80°F) delivers only 50% capacity at -18°C (0°F).

Discharge capacity for lithium polymer cells, discharged at different temperatures, shows a variation where batteries' capacity at low temperatures (0°C, -10°C, -20°C) is lower than at higher temperatures (25°C, 40°C, 60°C) . Moreover, charging Li-ion batteries at low temperatures (below 15°C) leads to lithium plating due to slowed intercalation of lithium ions, which accelerates Li-ion battery degradation by increasing battery internal resistance and further decreasing battery discharge capacity.

factors infulence the lifespan of lithium-ion battery

figure 3.4

To maximize the lifespan and performance of Li-ion batteries, it is recommended to operate them at moderate temperatures. A temperature of 20°C or slightly below is optimal for Li-ion batteries to achieve their maximum service life. However, manufacturers recommend a slightly higher temperature of 27°C for Li-ion batteries used when maximum battery runtime is required. 

2) Depth of Discharge

DOD has a dominant effect on the cycle life of Li-ion batteries. Deep discharges cause pressure in Li-ion cells and damage negative electrode cites, which accelerates capacity loss and possible cell damage. As shown in Figure 3.5, the higher the cycling DOD, the shorter the battery cycle life.

extend battery lifespan

figure 3.5

Discharge depths above 50% are classified as deep discharges. When a Li-ion battery's charge drops from 4.2V to 3.0V, roughly 95% of its energy is consumed, and continuous cycling will result in the shortest possible battery life. To prevent capacity loss, full discharge should be avoided during Li-ion battery cycling. Partially discharging and charging Li-ion batteries is recommended to prolong their lifespan.

Manufacturers typically use the 80% DOD formula to rate a battery, which means that only 80% of the input energy is utilized during battery usage, while the remaining 20% is reserved to achieve extended battery service life. However, reducing DOD can prolong Li-ion battery cycle life, but too low a DOD can lead to insufficient battery runtime and an inability to complete certain tasks. Around 50% DOD is recommended during the usage of Li-ion batteries to attain maximum lifespan and optimal battery service time.

3) Charge voltage:

Li-ion batteries can achieve high capacity and prolonged runtime with high charge voltage. However, fully charging Li-ion batteries is not recommended as it can cause lithium plating, leading to capacity loss and potentially damaging the battery, which can cause fires or explosions.

Charge voltage affect the lifespan of lithium-ion battery

figure 3.6

Figure 3.6 shows the capacity degradation under high charge voltages (>4.2V/cell), with higher voltages resulting in faster capacity loss and shorter cycle life. The charge voltage of 4.2V is the recommended voltage level for optimal capacity under Li-ion battery safety standards. Reducing the charge voltage by 70mV decreases overall capacity by approximately 10%.

Table 3.2 also shows that cycle life is the longest (2400-4000) at a charge voltage of 3.90V and halves with every 0.10V increase in charge voltage in the range of 3.90V-4.30V.

factors affect the lifespan of lithium-ion battery

table 3.2

Li-ion batteries should be charged at a voltage level below 4.10V to avoid significant battery degradation. While lower charge voltage prolongs battery life, it provides less runtime for the user. Moreover, discharge below 2.5V/cell should be avoided, and the optimal charge voltage is 3.92V for achieving the longest cycle life. That's why LiTime not reommending to charge LiFePO4 battery with a normal lead acid charger, for its voltage is not high enough to charge.  Below is the format of recommended charging voltage for different deep cycle battery system.

lithium battery charging voltage

Electronic devices like laptops and cellphones have a high voltage threshold to achieve optimal battery runtime. Large energy storage systems for satellites or electric vehicles, however, set the voltage threshold lower to extend battery life. Regardless of the application, overcharging Li-ion batteries can significantly decrease battery life and cause fires or explosions, thereby requiring caution.

4) Charge current/ C-rate:

Li-ion batteries experience several negative effects when subjected to high C-rates such as increasing internal resistance, loss of available energy, safety concerns, and irreversible capacity loss.

One of the main consequences of high C-rates is lithium plating. Charging a Li-ion battery with a high current causes lithium ions to move quickly, leading to the accumulation of lithium ions on the anode surface to form metallic lithium. This process is accelerated when batteries are fast charged at low temperatures and high state-of-charge (SOC).

This lithium layer may form into a dendritic format under the influence of gravity, causing elevated battery self-discharge. In extreme cases, it can lead to battery short circuiting and potential fires. Additionally, the high charge and discharge current also cause more energy loss due to battery internal resistance transferring energy into heat. If the C-rate exceeds the battery's recommended level, the increased temperature inside the battery can cause stress, damage the battery, and accelerate capacity loss.

Charge current/ C-rate affects lifespan of lithium-ion battery

5) Cycle frequency

Frequent cycling of Li-ion batteries, especially those occurring four or more times per day, can cause mechanical stress and increase the growth of the Solid Electrolyte Interphase (SEI) layer.

During cycling, Li-ion batteries lose both positive and negative Li reaction sites in electrodes, decreasing their capacity. The buildup of the SEI layer during cycling increases battery internal resistance, reducing the electronic conductivity and loading ability.

The thickening of SEI layer, Li site decrease, and other chemical changes inside Li-ion batteries lead to capacity loss and eventual battery failure. While no published research directly addresses this issue, it is assumed that high cycle frequency accelerates battery degradation due to the high temperatures generated by frequent usage.

Continuously cycling Li-ion batteries without adequate time to cool down can cause chemical stress that leads to the decomposition of electrolytes and electrodes.

Part 4 Methods to Prolong the Li-ion battery lifespan

  1. Keep the battery at moderate temperature: High temperatures can reduce battery lifespan, so storing or using Li-ion batteries at a moderate temperature range of 5°C to 20°C is recommended.
  1. Partial discharge and charging: Discharging and charging Li-ion batteries partially rather than completely can prolong their life. Avoiding deep discharges above 50% DOD can also help extend battery lifespan.
  2. Maintain moderate SOC levels: Extreme SOC levels can cause capacity loss and shorten battery lifespan. Maintaining Lithium-ion batteries at an intermediate SOC level can minimize battery degradation and prolong battery life.
  3. Avoid heat exposure: Exposure to high temperatures during battery use or storage can increase SEI thickness and trigger electrolyte oxidation, leading to capacity loss and reduced battery lifespan.
  4. Store batteries properly when not in use: When not in use, store Li-ion batteries at around 50% SOC and protected from extreme temperatures and humidity levels.
  5. Avoid fast charging and discharging: Rapid charging or discharging can generate excess heat, which may cause damage to the battery's internal components over time, reducing its overall lifespan.
  6. Use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) chargers: Using OEM chargers designed specifically for Li-ion batteries ensures that they receive the correct voltage and current, preventing damage and prolonging their lifespan. LiTime provides suitable LiFePO4 battery chargers for charging LiFePO4 lithium batteries. 

 FAQs about Li-ion Battery

1. How long do lithium battery last in cars?

The lifespan of lithium batteries used in cars depends on various factors, including the battery's quality, usage pattern, and environmental conditions. Generally, a well-maintained lithium battery in a car can last between 8 to 10 years or even more.

However, the battery's lifespan may vary significantly depending on how frequently the car is used, how it is charged, the ambient temperature, and the driving style. It is essential to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for maintaining and charging the battery to ensure the maximum lifespan and performance.

2. How long do lithium battery last in golf carts?

 Generally, a well-maintained lithium battery in a golf cart can last between 5 to 7 years or maybe more. LiTime lithium Golf cart battery has the life cycle up to 4000-15000, which implies more than 10 years lifespan.

litime lithium golf cart battery

3.How long can lithium battery last without charging

The length of time a Lithium-ion battery can last without charging depends on several factors, including the capacity of the battery, the device it's in, and how much power the device is using. On average, most Lithium-ion batteries can last between 2 to 10 years without charging, depending on how they are stored. However, this timeframe may be shorter or longer depending on various factors such as temperature, usage patterns, and storage conditions. It's essential to store the battery correctly and maintain it at the recommended SOC level to maximize its lifespan. It's also worth noting that even when not in use, Lithium-ion batteries can lose charge over time and may require recharging before being used again.

4. Is LiFePO4 battery safer than lithium ion battery?

Yes, Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP) battery is considered safer than traditional Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) batteries. This is because LiFePO4 batteries have a more stable chemistry compared to Li-ion batteries and are less prone to overheating, thermal runaway, and other safety issues.

LiFePO4 batteries also have a lower risk of thermal runaway due to their lower internal resistance, which means they generate less heat and reduce the likelihood of cell damage or explosion. Additionally, LiFePO4 batteries have a higher thermal stability and can withstand high temperatures without degrading or losing capacity, making them ideal for applications that require a durable and reliable power source.

Is the Investment in Lithium-Ion Batteries Worth It?

In comparison to the outdated lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries are undoubtedly a superior option. They are lighter, have a higher power-holding capacity, and a lower rate of self-discharge. Additionally, they demand less maintenance and possess an extended service life. While they may be more expensive initially, the overall savings they provide are noteworthy. We therefore consider lithium-ion batteries a valuable investment. They offer a reliable and hassle-free means of storing substantial amounts of power, which can come in handy when needed the most.


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