When I bought the Trojan T145 lead batteries three or four years ago that are in the Arctic Fox now I was aware there was a relatively new technology out for RV batteries called Lithium Iron Phosphate. there wasn't much known about it in the RV world even though it was being tried by some cutting edge RVers such as Technomadia but the jury was out, way out, whether or not this technology could compete with flooded lead acid, and AGM batteries. But as Bob Dylan once astutely stated, "The Times they are a Changing".
I had been kind of keeping up with lithium iron batteries for RVs, planning on giving it a serious look when my current batteries had outlived their usefulness in another four or five years figuring by then the new technology would become mainstream and the prices would become more reasonable.
But now here I am, badly in need of a battery bank replacement before the new technology has matured and the prices still give a whole new meaning to the words "sticker shock".
I've had a lot of good suggestions about battery choices with the smart money going to AGM's. But there's one big thing that keeps pushing me towards the lithium iron technology and that's weight, I can get a lot of weight off of my pleasingly plump Arctic Fox by switching to lithium iron.
Vall&Mo left a comment in yesterday's blog with links to a couple of blogs where people are doing some major modifications and putting Chevy Volt batteries in their RVs, I would recommend you go back and check out these links because they were very interesting. The benefits of this modification being cheaper, lighter and more powerful batteries than they could get any other way. Now I didn't read these articles in depth, I just kind of skimmed through them largely because these folks were talking way over my head and I probably could have read them 10 times and still not understood half of what they were talking about. But here are my problems with what I believe they were saying.
First of all I think they said that lithium-ion which is what Chevy Volt batteries are made with is no more dangerous than lithium iron technology, which from all I've read is incorrect, lithium-ion has a couple of advantages over lithium iron but safety is not one of them. And since I would be sleeping right on top of these batteries, even if they're only a little safer I would go with the lithium iron. Now I could be wrong about this because the guy that wrote that I believe identified himself as a nuclear engineer and I'm not qualified to hold his slide rule but I don't think I've ever heard anyone else say that it's just as safe.
Having been in the restaurant business I have had more than a nodding acquaintance with various insurance companies, and unlike in their commercials where you're being handed a check by a smiling insurance agent, my experience has been if you have a major claim they send out a Cadillac full of lawyers who spend the next two years doing everything possible to deny you the coverage you thought you had.
So starting from that reference point I believe that if anything happens to your RV and your insurance company finds out, "which they will", you built your own battery system from scratch, and the heart of your system is a "damaged" battery from a junkyard, your going to be up a well-known Creek without a paddle or a canoe.
So it looks like there's going to be lithium iron batteries in my future. How soon that's going to be depends on how much cloudy weather I have and how well my damaged batteries deal with it. But whenever it is its going to be a major expense. To buy the same batteries I have now will cost roughly $1000. To replace them with top-of-the-line Lifeline AGM's will be about $1400. And the lithium irons, fagetaboutit.