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Heated Lithium Batteries: Providing Warmth and Power in Cold Weather

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Sometimes, summer is the best time to prep for winter. If you plan to spend the colder months on the road or off the grid, you may want to consider heated lithium batteries.

Lithium batteries come in all shapes and sizes; some perform better in colder temperatures than others. For example, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries are known for their thermal stability, safety, and durability. Thus, when using lithium batteries in cold climates, there are a lot of factors to consider. Choosing a quality battery with built-in heating can help you stay powered even in the most frigid temperatures.

Now let’s unpack everything you need to know about heated batteries and how you can incorporate them into your rig this winter.

How the Cold Affects Lithium Batteries

Van traveling in winter weather

Before diving into the benefits of heated lithium batteries, it helps to understand how colder temperatures generally affect them.

Lithium ion batteries handle cold temperatures more effectively than other battery types. That said, pushing them to the extreme can compromise the battery and reduce its ability to store and release energy.

When temperatures drop below freezing (32°F), the lithium cells can’t leverage the same amount of charging current. It’s also dangerous to charge these batteries when the device’s temperature is below freezing.

Think of it this way—it takes a while for your body to acclimate to cold weather. The same is true for your battery. You wouldn’t just step into a snowstorm and start working, right? You need a little time to warm up. Before firing up your lithium battery in the winter, warm it up a little.

Overexposure to cold weather will reduce your battery’s lifespan as you’ll need to charge it more often. Lithium ion batteries also have a specific number of charging cycles before they become unusable. That’s why proper battery storage is critical.

Here’s where heated lithium batteries like the 12V LiFePO4 options by Battle Born Batteries come into play. These batteries use low-draw technology to warm themselves and prepare for charging; stable chemistry and a built-in battery management system (BMS) provide safe and reliable power sources no matter what kind of weather you’re up against.

Cold climates usually come with snow and ice. Of course, melting snow turns to water, which could also impact your battery. It ultimately depends on how the manufacturer designs their battery. For example, Battle Born Batteries come fully sealed, meaning that getting wet isn’t a significant problem. While we don’t suggest submerging them in water, a little melted snow and rain shouldn’t be an issue.

Why You Should Use Heated Lithium Batteries

Battle Born Batteries (family and individual) - in snow at Galena creek (mt. rose)

Batteries are the heart of your outdoor rig. As such, you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure their longevity. Let’s dive into why heated lithium batteries are the best option for cold-weather travelers.

Better Performance

It’s a common misconception that lithium batteries don’t perform well in the cold. In fact, the opposite is true—they perform better than any other battery type. That said, pushing them to extreme temperatures can still cause damage. That’s why heated lithium ion batteries are essential for cold-weather setups.

This myth comes from people misusing their batteries. They try to charge the battery when it’s too cold, leading to internal shorts and battery failure. In this scenario, while it will still work, it won’t hold a charge.

Heated lithium batteries have protective measures to prevent charging at below-freezing temperatures. For example, Battle Born Batteries will discharge down to −4°F. However, the BMS kicks in and prevents them from charging when below 25°F.

Longer Lifespan

Better performance means your heated lithium batteries will last significantly longer than their lead-acid counterparts. Although lower temperatures affect all batteries, lithium ion varieties are optimally equipped to handle cold weather.

Longer lifespans mean less money spent on repairs and replacements. In the end, proper maintenance and care will keep your lithium ion batteries running longer than lead acid.

Lightweight

Weight can become a real issue when the temperature drops. The more cumbersome items are to carry, the more difficult cold-weather travel becomes. Lithium batteries weigh about half as much as lead-acid batteries. Therefore, they’re much easier to transport for people exploring remote destinations in cold weather.

Better Energy Delivery

Lithium batteries are superior at delivering back the energy put into them when using large loads at any temperature. That means you can charge the battery and not worry about it dying after a few hours in the cold.

Much of this comes down to Peukert’s Law, which expresses the change in the capacity of rechargeable lead-acid batteries at different discharge rates. Essentially, the faster you discharge a battery, the less energy you’ll receive due to internal resistance and chemical losses.

Lithium batteries prove superior in this area because of their ability to discharge deeply without losing performance.

Ease of Charging

Many lead-acid batteries are rendered useless when the temperature drops. Meanwhile, lithium batteries, especially heated ones, can still charge and perform. That said, the internal BMS will prevent the battery from charging—and ultimately hurting—itself in super-cold temperatures.

Lead-acid batteries do not have an internal BMS. They’ll charge even when they shouldn’t. The more this occurs, the quicker the battery will degrade. You might get some power today, but is it worth losing the battery for good tomorrow?

Leverage Heated Batteries with Battle Born

Heated lithium batteries will come in handy this winter. Contrary to popular belief, they work just fine in cold temperatures. That’s not to say you can toss them in the snow and expect them to crank out power. TLC is critical to maintaining battery life. They’ll work for you if you’re willing to work with them.

Battle Born Batteries make it easier to manage cold conditions. Their heated lithium batteries have an internal BMS to ensure optimal performance in any weather. They’ll keep your RV, boat, or off-the-grid setup churning without succumbing to freezing weather.

Get in touch with Battle Born Batteries today to speak with a seasoned specialist. They’ll be more than happy to fill you in on everything Battle Born offers regarding heated lithium batteries.

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2 thoughts on “Heated Lithium Batteries: Providing Warmth and Power in Cold Weather

  1. Do your heated Lithium batteries require a shore power (120VAC) connection to work? Or can they use their own stored energy to heat themselves. Do you know the amp-hour draw of the heating elements? Thinking of off grid camping situations in cold weather. Thanks very much.

    1. No, they do not require shore power. On average, the heated battery consumes 1.8 amps of power while heating. Our tests indicate that at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, with no insulation, the heater is on about 30% of the time. With no external charging or loads it gives approximately 185 hours of heat capability before the battery goes into low voltage disconnect. However, duty cycle values and overall draw may vary based off of environmental conditions.

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