A Class C RV is one of the most popular motorhome styles on the market today. They have the convenience of being self-contained, and you don’t need a tow vehicle. Most Class C motorhomes are typically shorter than most Class A motorhomes, making them more comfortable for the typical consumer to drive and park.
But as with most other RVs on the market, Class C RVs typically come with a less than optimal house battery. With everyone hyping up lithium batteries, the question then becomes, will lithium batteries work in my Class C RV?
Table of contents
- Will Lithium Batteries Work in my Class C RV?
- What Batteries Typically Come in a Class C RV Motorhome?
- Class C RV Battery Limitations
- How to Upgrade Your Class C RV to Lithium Batteries
- Benefits of Lithium Batteries Over Lead Acid in a Class C RV
- Our Recommendation for Class C RV Lithium Batteries
- Should You Upgrade To Lithium RV Batteries?
Will Lithium Batteries Work in my Class C RV?
Yes! Lithium batteries will work in a Class C RV. A 12V lithium battery will work in any situation calling for a 12V deep-cycle battery. But there are a few things you should know when considering a battery upgrade.
What Batteries Typically Come in a Class C RV Motorhome?
The average Class C motorhome comes with one 12V deep cycle, lead-acid battery rated at 80 amp-hours of power. This is a bit of a misnomer, however. While a lead-acid battery may be rated at 80 amp-hours, it suffers permanent damage if discharged below 50% of its capacity. So an 80-amp-hour lead-acid battery only has about 40 amp-hours of usable power.
Typically, a Class C RV has a battery bay you can access from the exterior of the rig. Though most Class C motorhomes come with a single battery, the bay is generally big enough to fit more than one battery, leaving room to upgrade a bank of batteries that work in tandem.
Class C RV Battery Limitations
A Class C RV house battery powers 12V devices, such as interior lighting, water pumps, refrigerators, furnaces, overhead fans, and other appliances.
A Class C RV can rip through the typical lead-acid house battery rather quickly when you don’t have shore power. Even if you have a generator for recharging, that means it will likely be running for a few hours every day. Solar can be an option for recharging as well, although weather limits it.
A typical lead-acid house battery barely keeps up with minimal 12V applications, and it’s nearly useless if you want to operate 120V appliances like a coffee pot, microwave, blender, or air conditioner. These appliances would quickly use more power than the battery can supply.
Though a lead-acid battery can last three to five years, they degrade quickly if you’re constantly depleting and recharging them. Because most lithium batteries last 10 years or longer, it’s a considerable upgrade to most travel trailers.
→Find out more: The Truth About Lead-Acid Vs. Lithium Ion Batteries For RVs
How to Upgrade Your Class C RV to Lithium Batteries
We advise enlisting the help of a professional if you’re not confident in this project, but you might be able to do the upgrade from lead-acid to lithium batteries yourself.
This is particularly true if you buy them from a company such as Battle Born Batteries, where we strive to provide a tremendous amount of support from tutorials to custom-tailored assistance specific to your situation. Call us today at 855-292-2831 to talk to one of our customer service techs about your upgrade!
Benefits of Lithium Batteries Over Lead Acid in a Class C RV
We’ve pointed out many of lead-acid batteries’ limitations. The good thing about lithium batteries is that just about everywhere that lead-acid falls short, lithium stands tall.
Lithium Is More Cost-Effective
Many believe lithium batteries to be more expensive because they cost more initially than lead-acid batteries. However, when you factor in that lithium batteries can last three times longer or more than their lead-acid counterparts, they’re a much more cost-effective solution over the life of the batteries.
Lithium Batteries Are Safer
You might have considered lithium batteries a dangerous technology at one time. We’ve all heard the stories about a computer in someone’s carry-on luggage catching fire on an airplane.
However, those were infrequent occurrences that happened in the very early stages of lithium-ion. There have since been numerous advances that increased the safety of lithium batteries, which is especially so in RV lithium technology.
The most popular lithium technology for RV batteries (and what we use in our Battle Born Batteries) is lithium iron phosphate (or LiFePO4), which utilizes a lower energy density than other lithium-ion batteries, making them extremely resistant to thermal runaway. They also utilize a built-in battery management system that makes them even safer. LiFePO4 batteries are also non-toxic, so they’re easier to dispose of than lead-acid batteries.
→ Suggested Reading: How To Properly Dispose Of RV Lithium Batteries
Drastically Longer Lifespan
Even a well-maintained lead-acid battery that you never discharge below 50% capacity might only last 500 to 800 charge/discharge cycles. You won’t damage a lithium battery by dipping below the 50% capacity threshold. Therefore, you have more readily available power, even when you repeatedly discharge it down to 20% capacity or below. A lithium battery lasts upwards of 5,000 cycles. That’s about 10 times the use of a lead-acid battery.
More Efficient Power Supply
Since a lithium battery doesn’t have the 50% threshold for damage that a lead-acid battery does, it’s a much more efficient power source. You won’t damage the battery, even if you discharge it to 20 percent. However, most lithium batteries come with a power management system that will cut off power when you reach 20 percent to prevent you from completely draining the battery.
You could genuinely get 100 amp-hours out of a 100-amp-hour lithium battery. No lead-acid power bank can say that!
Because of the built-in battery management system, a lithium battery is maintenance free.
Compare that with a regular flooded lead-acid battery that either you or a professional must open and top off with water every so often, exposing you to corrosive acid. Even a sealed lead-acid battery needs constant monitoring to avoid discharging it too much.
They Weigh Less
As RVers know well, you must consider the weight of each item when driving a Class C RV. These homes-on-wheels are rated for safety based on the overall weight of the vehicle.
With a lithium battery being about half the weight of a similarly sized lead-acid battery, upgrading to lithium frees up weight for other items.
Since a lithium battery weighs less and operates more efficiently, you also need fewer batteries to provide the same amount of power. Good things come in lighter packages when it comes to RVing!
Our Recommendation for Class C RV Lithium Batteries
Here at Battle Born Batteries, we stand behind our products. We have a strong commitment to our customers with top-notch support, and each product is field-tested. You can’t go wrong with a Battle Born Battery in your Class C RV. Here’s the one we recommend you get:
The Battle Born 100 amp-hour, 12V LiFePO4 deep-cycle battery is our top choice for a Class C RV battery upgrade. This battery is a drop-in replacement for similarly sized lead-acid batteries, making it an easy swap. It measures 12.76 x 6.86 x 8.95 inches (L x W x H).
Because of the details of specific applications, the Battle Born battery may require certain components and/or programming, but it’s not difficult to do in a typical Class C RV.
It comes with a built-in battery management system, which makes the Battle Born hassle-free. It also weighs just 31 pounds, which will likely lower your rig’s overall weight.
It’s designed to last 3,000 to 5,000 cycles, at which point the battery will still hold 75% to 80% of its energy capacity. That should take most users beyond the 10-year mark, which is an incredible return on investment.
This battery also comes with Battle Born’s 10-year warranty, which includes eight years of full replacement coverage for any manufacturer’s defect and two years of prorated replacement coverage.
Looking for Inspiration? Check out The Endless Adventure’s Off-Grid Electrical Installation in their Class C RV:
Should You Upgrade To Lithium RV Batteries?
Hopefully, this information has proven useful if you’re considering upgrading your Class C RV house battery from lead-acid to lithium. The advantages that lithium has over lead-acid make it a fairly easy decision! It will provide for many more hours of uninterrupted enjoyment and additional years without worrying about how much longer your battery might last.
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 (855) 292-2831 to take your questions!
Also join us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more about how lithium battery systems can power your lifestyle, see how others have built their systems, and gain the confidence to get out there and stay out there.