A Class A RV is essentially a small house you can drive from destination to destination while adventuring. And like any house, it needs a constant power source to thrive.
Some Class A RV owners love to boondock, staying in remote areas. This presents a simpler lifestyle, but it also begs the question as to how they’ll power their devices and, more importantly, their large appliances.
The answer would seem to lie in high-quality lithium batteries, preferably in combination with solar panels. But will lithium batteries work in a Class A RV?
About Class A RVs
Class A RVs are the big brother of RVs. They’re between 29’ and 45’ feet in length with 75-100 gallon holding tanks. They also have the most amenities, such as big-screen TVs, washing machines, dryers, and power-hungry residential refrigerators.
All these Class A amenities are easy to power when you’re on the grid; just plug into shore power and go for it. But not every RVer is a campground enthusiast. Many enjoy boondocking or camping without hookups, so they rely on a good battery.
Class A RVs typically come with a bank of lead-acid batteries to power their house-on-wheels away from hookups. But there’s a new technology in town, and many RVers are kicking those tried and true lead-acid batteries to the curb.
What Are Lithium Batteries?
As lithium-ion batteries have become increasingly popular, their 170-year-old lead-acid cousins have taken a back seat in some applications. We’ll explore the reasons for that, but first, let’s look at what lithium batteries are and how they work.
A lithium-ion battery is a rechargeable power bank with advanced technology. As the name suggests, it uses lithium ions to create an electrical current with a chemical process that’s much different from that of a lead-acid battery.
Essentially, lithium ions move between the positive electrodes when discharging and the negative cathodes during charging. The simple movement between poles generates free electrons, which make up the charge in your battery. From there, the charge can power whatever it’s connected to. In this case, it’s your RV gadgets and appliances.
Can I Use Lithium Batteries in My Class A RV?
Not only can you use lithium batteries in your Class A RV, but there are many advantages to doing so! They last longer, operate more efficiently, weigh less, and have a better economic footprint—many who have switched to lithium from lead-acid never look back.
Benefits of Using Lithium Batteries in a Class A RV
The best way to enjoy the benefits of this power bank is just to use it. But to help you make the decision, here are a few reasons you might love your lithium batteries.
They Last Longer
The extended life makes them a worthwhile investment for many RVers. A healthy lithium-ion battery can deliver 3,000-5,000 cycles before it dies out!
Plus, they can sustain deep discharges better than their lead-acid cousins. You’ll only get a few hundred cycles out of a lead-acid battery before you have to replace it. You damage your lead-acid batteries every time you let them drain below 50%, so you might shorten their lifespans if you often boondock.
However, you can let your lithium-ion batteries drain down to 20% without damage. They should still deliver at least 3000 cycles, despite you regularly draining them. So you can boondock for longer without recharging your batteries.
Lithium Batteries Are More Efficient
You likely have multiple devices and appliances that you’d like to run simultaneously in a sizeable RV. A lithium-ion battery can, based on your inverter’s size. With a suitable high-powered inverter, lithium batteries can operate most or all gadgets and appliances in your RV.
Also, lead-acid battery voltage falls continuously as the batteries discharge. When the electrical demand increases, their voltage falls faster. Not so with lithium-ion batteries, which can deliver peak power with constant voltage, regardless of the load.
Finally, lithium-ion batteries can accept charge at a higher amperage, which means they charge much faster than lead-acid batteries.
They Weigh Less
Lithium batteries are more compact and lighter weight than lead-acid batteries. It only has four cells rather than six like its lead-acid counterpart. So with lithium-ion batteries, you’re getting more power in a smaller, lighter package, meaning you can pack your class A RV with more fun stuff!
Less Expensive Over the Long Term
While the upfront cost is higher for lithium-ion batteries, the longevity reduces the cost overall.
If you’re only getting a few hundred cycles out of your lead-acid batteries (or less!), you’ll be replacing them every couple of years. Since you can regularly discharge your lithium batteries to 20% and still get 3000+ cycles before they need replacing, it might be over a decade before you have to buy a new one.
This fact, along with their increased efficiency, equals an all-around better bang for your buck.
Most lithium batteries have a warranty of ten years or more. That’s substantially longer than you’ll find from any lead-acid battery manufacturer, most of whom will offer a three-year warranty, max.
Smarter, Longer-Lasting Batteries for Your Class A RV
Let’s sum up: Yes, lithium-ion batteries will work in your Class A RV. Not only will they work, but they’ll work smarter, longer, and more efficiently than any battery you’ve ever put to work for your vehicle. They’re genuinely the new frontier for RVs.
Want To Learn More About Electrical Systems and Lithium Batteries?
We know building or upgrading an electrical system can be overwhelming, so we’re here to help. Our Reno, Nevada-based sales and customer service team is standing by at (775) 622-3448 to take your questions!
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