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jumpwarrior

Lithium-Iron Battery (LFP) - New & Better Alternative?

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Hi bros, 

 

I was researching about these Lithium-Iron Batteries (LiFePo4, LFP Batteries) and was pretty impressed by the benefits it has compared to what's available in the market now. I am quite new to owning a car and perhaps a bit too excited about trying new stuff for my car so would like to seek your knowledge and opinion on this.

 

What really caught my attention was the benefits of it (albeit the price, not sure how much but they say more ex than the normal batteries): 

  • No maintenance (like those sealed type)

  • Suitable for start/stop feature (haha this one I know not many people like!)

  • No explosion (they say very safe, won't catch fire)

  • No spillage

  • Non-toxic and no rare earth materials

  • Constant & stable discharge

  • Light-weight (this one really quite amazing, like only 6 to 9kg???!)

  • Longer cycle life

  • Battery management system (not sure what this is for)

I mean there must be a reason why the electric cars and buses are using this LFP batteries right? But I will definitely do more research first and would be great if you guys are able to share your thoughts!

TIA

https://medium.com/solar-microgrid/battery-showdown-lead-acid-vs-lithium-ion-1d37a1998287
https://www.roadpro.co.uk/lithium-battery-guide

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@jumpwarrior, first of all, I hope the intention of starting this thread is not for advertising purposes (as we noted that you have been posting questions on batteries in several thread), else we will close it.

 

OK, back to the topic. Have we not heard enough of fire caused by Li-ion batteries, ranging from mobile phones, laptops, PMDs to even cars... and what make you think that LiFe4Po4 maybe a much safer option?

 

If you do some read up (and there are also tons of video of experiment with Li-ion Bat), the ultimate root cause to Li-ion batteries fire is none other than the chemical property of Lithium Ion. It can heat up rapidly (explode and catch fire) once the temperature hit the threshold limit a.k.a. thermal run away temperature (range between ~45 to 61 deg C) - which maybe caused by over-charging / discharging, high heat, impact, or even traces of impurities embedded into the cell during manufacturing processes, etc. 

 

This is something that many scientist and R&D personnel have yet to overcome for the past few decades. Yes, it has many other advantages, such as light weight, compact (and can come in any form and shape), better holding power, etc. etc. But a relative high fire risk kill all benefits off.

 

One thing to note, while the fire risk is always there, the risk of having a small batteries, such as one in our mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc. are relatively lower than that of a larger unit, such as one found in PMD and EV. Again, this is simply physic, smaller battery is able to decipitate heat better, and the scale of fire / explosion is limited to it size and energy storage capacity. For replacement of conventional Lead-acid battery (where it is to be housed in the engine bay where temperature is likely to be >50 deg C), thanks but no thanks.

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LiFePO4 is safer.

It does not get into thermal runaway mode (unlike Li-ion cobalt), so theoretically it does not explode or catch fire.

However, it's energy density is smaller than Li-ion cobalt.

 

I have one such jumpstarter using LiFePO4

Edited by Kb27

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Don't mind me asking but what is your so called "research"? is it reading off from the internet or real experimental stuff in a lab?

 

I think the full name is Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries. It's now the No1 ideal choice to power most PMD device. It's more popular cos it doesn't catch fire like those running on lead acid batteries.

 

Ironically its main advantage is also its disadvantage. If you look at what it's made of(as the name suggests) the material are of low electrical conductivity which explains its stability and also its slow discharge.

 

When it comes to batteries no matter how hyped up it's to make it sell there's always some trade off. IMO no need to kick up a big fuss over it and say until it's like some kinda god-send. It's isn't.

Edited by Watwheels

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@jumpwarrior, first of all, I hope the intention of starting this thread is not for advertising purposes (as we noted that you have been posting questions on batteries in several thread), else we will close it.

 

OK, back to the topic. Have we not heard enough of fire caused by Li-ion batteries, ranging from mobile phones, laptops, PMDs to even cars... and what make you think that LiFe4Po4 maybe a much safer option?

 

If you do some read up (and there are also tons of video of experiment with Li-ion Bat), the ultimate root cause to Li-ion batteries fire is none other than the chemical property of Lithium Ion. It can heat up rapidly (explode and catch fire) once the temperature hit the threshold limit a.k.a. thermal run away temperature (range between ~45 to 61 deg C) - which maybe caused by over-charging / discharging, high heat, impact, or even traces of impurities embedded into the cell during manufacturing processes, etc. 

 

This is something that many scientist and R&D personnel have yet to overcome for the past few decades. Yes, it has many other advantages, such as light weight, compact (and can come in any form and shape), better holding power, etc. etc. But a relative high fire risk kill all benefits off.

 

One thing to note, while the fire risk is always there, the risk of having a small batteries, such as one in our mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc. are relatively lower than that of a larger unit, such as one found in PMD and EV. Again, this is simply physic, smaller battery is able to decipitate heat better, and the scale of fire / explosion is limited to it size and energy storage capacity. For replacement of conventional Lead-acid battery (where it is to be housed in the engine bay where temperature is likely to be >50 deg C), thanks but no thanks.

Hi Carbon82, thank you for your input!

Apologies if I may have come across as advertising - it wasn't my intention as I thought I could reach out to more users for their opinion on the different threads (as not all will look at this thread). Do let me know if this is against any guidelines.

 

Back to the topic on the LFP batteries: 

I believe that there are many different types of Li-ion batteries and LiFePO4 is just one of the many. The unfortunate incidents of mobile devices exploding is due to various reasons such as bad battery design (in the case of Samsung Note 7 - https://www.cnet.com/news/galaxy-note-7-explosions-caused-by-aggressive-design/) and also to point out they are not specifically LiFePO4 batteries but Lithium Cobalt Oxide. With different chemical properties (Iron phosphate, Cobalt oxide, Manganese oxide, etc), it will provide different pros, cons and properties thus I don't think it's reasonable to lump them all into one group of Li-ion batteries. 

 

Regarding fires/ explosions, I have researched about LiFePO4 in particular, they do not catch fire/explode as the chemical properties are very stable such that the oxygen molecules have very strong covalent bonds and thus the oxygen molecules won't be released - and we all know oxygen is needed for an explosion (please correct me if I'm wrong). This also holds when it is under high temperatures.

Also, you can do a simple search on YouTube to see the various nail penetration tests (which batteries have to undergo) and most will combust but LiFePO4 batteries just give off an huge amount of gas/smoke (pretty sure that's not the safest but beats having something exploding!)

 

Is it possible to contest about the usage of LFP batteries regarding the risk of fire/explosions if EVs are using it? If I'm an EV manufacturer, I'll be super sure that I won't mess the battery up as that's practically the main power source of the entire vehicle. 

 

But apart for the supposed fire/explosion hazard, what are your thoughts on the charging/discharging and life cycle of the LiFePO4 batteries? 

 

I may be a bit biased cos I see the monetary benefits of it in the long run but of course I might be wrong in other aspects and thus welcome all comments and opinions. 

 

Thanks bro

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LiFePO4 is safer.

It does not get into thermal runaway mode (unlike Li-ion cobalt), so theoretically it does not explode or catch fire.

However, it's energy density is smaller than Li-ion cobalt.

 

I have one such jumpstarter using LiFePO4

Hi kb27, would like to ask where did you get it from? Maybe they will sell for car battery too. 

 

Regarding energy density, it would be a trade-off isn't it? Either have something which theoretically can catch on fire (Li Cobalt) or have less capacity (LiFePO4). But for car battery I think it's more reasonable to compare with AGM? Cos that's the next best alternative right?

 

Would you consider getting LiFePO4 for your car since you have experience with it before? Even though for your jumpstarter instead.

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Hi kb27, would like to ask where did you get it from? Maybe they will sell for car battery too. 

 

Regarding energy density, it would be a trade-off isn't it? Either have something which theoretically can catch on fire (Li Cobalt) or have less capacity (LiFePO4). But for car battery I think it's more reasonable to compare with AGM? Cos that's the next best alternative right?

 

Would you consider getting LiFePO4 for your car since you have experience with it before? Even though for your jumpstarter instead.

 

Bought this from Amazon last time, but now they don't ship to Sg.

You may try other places or ebay

https://www.amazon.com/Schumacher-SL1-Lithium-Jump-Starter/dp/B00LQW3COW

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Don't mind me asking but what is your so called "research"? is it reading off from the internet or real experimental stuff in a lab?

 

I think the full name is Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries. It's now the No1 ideal choice to power most PMD device. It's more popular cos it doesn't catch fire like those running on lead acid batteries.

 

Ironically its main advantage is also its disadvantage. If you look at what it's made of(as the name suggests) the material are of low electrical conductivity which explains its stability and also its slow discharge.

 

When it comes to batteries no matter how hyped up it's to make it sell there's always some trade off. IMO no need to kick up a big fuss over it and say until it's like some kinda god-send. It's isn't.

 Hi @Watwheels, actually paiseh you're right, just reading off the internet. But they are various research papers and lectures by college professors, so I don't think it's all that unreliable.

 

I agree that there's always some sort of trade off as with everything else.

I understand that there are its own cons as well - high price, low discharge rate, etc but I would like to know what others think about this LiFePO4 batteries. Hypothetically, would you give it a try? 

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 Hi @Watwheels, actually paiseh you're right, just reading off the internet. But they are various research papers and lectures by college professors, so I don't think it's all that unreliable.

 

I agree that there's always some sort of trade off as with everything else.

I understand that there are its own cons as well - high price, low discharge rate, etc but I would like to know what others think about this LiFePO4 batteries. Hypothetically, would you give it a try? 

 

I would say most ppl dont really care what battery they have in their devices. Its the features, functions, designs, shapes, sizes and prices that make a consumer buy that device and not really what type of battery it has, even if ppl care about the battery it would be its capacity and not its type. It would be more appropriate to ask the manufacturer if they would choose this battery over the others.

Edited by Xers007

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Is this like the gel type of batteries used in some of the conti cars that could last for 3 years? 

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I would say most ppl dont really care what battery they have in their devices. Its the features, functions, designs, shapes, sizes and prices that make a consumer buy that device and not really what type of battery it has, even if ppl care about the battery it would be its capacity and not its type. It would be more appropriate to ask the manufacturer if they would choose this battery over the others.

 

Hi @Xers007! I agree that there are some things about the car batteries people will care more about, especially features, capacity and price. Design not so much I feel, since it will be hidden away anyway right? But weight would play a part since it affects fuel consumption and performance - the Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries (LFP) only weighs about 8kg for 70Ah, so I thought that was pretty impressive. 

 

Regarding capacity, it really depends on what your needs are (many ICE?) then to decide how many Ah to get and in turn it affects the price. But I would think it's better to get a higher capacity battery to help the alternator whenever necessary. Those alternator are more ex to replace compared to batteries!

 

I think it's also appropriate to ask car owners if they would choose LiFePO4 batteries too as the usual batteries we have in our car only lasts like 18 to 24 months. Definitely will need replacement and if go back to manufacturer to change, it's going to be so ex and doubt it will last long anyway. Might as well find a better, economical alternative isn't it? 

 

My purpose here is to find more information about LiFePO4 batteries cos true la, cannot just everything get off the internet, not accurate right? So I thought perhaps maybe someone with experience with LiFePO4 batteries can share more insights. 

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Is this like the gel type of batteries used in some of the conti cars that could last for 3 years? 

No leh bro, this one is a different type, using Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4). More like those EV, PMD use type. 

 

I think the gel one you referring to is something more similar to AGM batteries, but not as good as AGM. But yes, these one the conti car use, not too sure if it can really last 3 years la haha 

The gel ones still use lead-acid just like the normal ones in our cars. But cos it's gel, don't need to keep upright, won't spill. 

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Hi. I am using LiFe for my r/c applications but only in low discharge applications. The running of my r/c models are still using LiPo batteries with high discharge rates, 60C.

 

For high discharge rates, i dont think LiFe is suitable. So i think that is why it is not used in real cars. They are unable to hold its voltage under high loads.

 

My LiFe batteries used in transmitter and receiver applications.

 

post-2654-0-69341300-1536662830_thumb.jpg

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TS, you just bought a car and now thinking of swapping the car battery for some fancy stuff?

 

Car battery is mainly only to start engine. No point spending your brain cells thinking about this. Most people just want a value-for-money reliable lead-acid battery that last as long as possible to have less downtime and less expenditure.

 

Focus on more fun things like:

 

- Chip up engine

- better engine oil

- K&N air filter

- suspension upgrades

- change tyres to sportier ones

- change to forged rims

- car coating

- car camera(s)

etc etc

 

 

 

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TS, you just bought a car and now thinking of swapping the car battery for some fancy stuff?

 

Car battery is mainly only to start engine. No point spending your brain cells thinking about this. Most people just want a value-for-money reliable lead-acid battery that last as long as possible to have less downtime and less expenditure.

 

Focus on more fun things like:

 

- Chip up engine

- better engine oil

- K&N air filter

- suspension upgrades

- change tyres to sportier ones

- change to forged rims

- car coating

- car camera(s)

etc etc

 

HE may think that this battery discussion is fun and intriguing. Who are we to judge?

 

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In my course of work, I rely heavily on Safety Data Sheet (SDS), for determining if a particular material is safe or not.

 

Safety Data Sheet - LiFePO4

 

Do take note of section 5 (Fire-fighting measures), and 7 (Handling and storage).

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In my line, I  often have to ask for and look at section 4 (First Aid) and 11 (Toxicology) when the shit hits the fan. :D

 

In my course of work, I rely heavily on Safety Data Sheet (SDS), for determining if a particular material is safe or not.

 

Safety Data Sheet - LiFePO4

 

Do take note of section 5 (Fire-fighting measures), and 7 (Handling and storage).

 

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@Vratenza @Carbon82

 

Come on guys, let's be realistic here. All batteries pose some sort of fire hazard, handling and storage limitations and toxicity. It's about which is LESS likely to catch on fire/ IF it catches on fire, which causes LESS harm or damage/ to what EXTENT of toxicity it is IF you EVER ingest it. 

Regarding handling and storage, that's what the Battery Management System is for for the LiFePO4 - this helps to prevent overcharging, abnormal discharge, etc. 

 

Since you heavily rely on SDS, here are some lead-acid/ AGM battery SDS which are readily available online. 

As you can see, lead-acid/ AGM batteries also have its limitations and same fire hazard, handling/storage limitations and toxicity. But which poses MORE severe damages when shit hits the fan, you be the judge. 

 

LEAD ACID BATTERIES:

https://www.batteriesplus.com/image/sds-lead-wet-acid.pdf

http://www.eastpennmanufacturing.com/wp-content/uploads/Wet-Batteries.pdf

 

AGM BATTERIES:

http://usbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/SDS-AGM-Battery.pdf

https://www.rollsbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/transport_certs/SDS-AGM_Battery.pdf

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TS, you just bought a car and now thinking of swapping the car battery for some fancy stuff?

 

Car battery is mainly only to start engine. No point spending your brain cells thinking about this. Most people just want a value-for-money reliable lead-acid battery that last as long as possible to have less downtime and less expenditure.

 

Focus on more fun things like:

 

- Chip up engine

- better engine oil

- K&N air filter

- suspension upgrades

- change tyres to sportier ones

- change to forged rims

- car coating

- car camera(s)

etc etc

Thanks for the suggestions man, I'll definitely consider those - especially those which will perhaps help lower any cost in the long run. Battery is just something I'm interested in cos I have heard of stories that people drive 2 years plus then their batteries die on them unexpectedly. Also read about how people kenna carrot by buying some lousy batteries, damn ex but also last them a few months only. And just thinking about having to worry every 2 to 3 (if lucky) years when to change my batteries and what if I forget, then i kenna stranded somewhere ulu or what it's damn troublesome. 

 

That's why I am looking for alternatives. If up front cost a bit higher but helps me with other things in the long run (eg. life cycle, safety, start/stop compatibility, etc etc) then might as well right? I know most people are more cautious and hesitant about having to fork out a larger amount up front, but a bit short-sighted don't you think? I'm sure you heard the saying "good things no cheap, cheap things no good" - does not apply to all but definitely majority but of cos must do research la, that's why I'm seeking opinions here. 

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personal opinion, a normal car battery seldom die suddenly... your crank will feel weaker first... and if you continue to ignore it... then it just get weaker and weaker before it die off

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Vratenza Carbon82

 

Come on guys, let's be realistic here. All batteries pose some sort of fire hazard, handling and storage limitations and toxicity. It's about which is LESS likely to catch on fire/ IF it catches on fire, which causes LESS harm or damage/ to what EXTENT of toxicity it is IF you EVER ingest it. 

Regarding handling and storage, that's what the Battery Management System is for for the LiFePO4 - this helps to prevent overcharging, abnormal discharge, etc. 

 

Since you heavily rely on SDS, here are some lead-acid/ AGM battery SDS which are readily available online. 

As you can see, lead-acid/ AGM batteries also have its limitations and same fire hazard, handling/storage limitations and toxicity. But which poses MORE severe damages when shit hits the fan, you be the judge. 

 

LEAD ACID BATTERIES:

https://www.batteriesplus.com/image/sds-lead-wet-acid.pdf

http://www.eastpennmanufacturing.com/wp-content/uploads/Wet-Batteries.pdf

 

AGM BATTERIES:

http://usbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/SDS-AGM-Battery.pdf

https://www.rollsbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/transport_certs/SDS-AGM_Battery.pdf

 

In the context of risk evaluation, there are 2 main criteria we need to focus on: Likelihood (of occurrence) and severity (of the risk). The 3rd one being what / who will be affected, which I shall explain in details in the later part of this post.

 

The key risk we are all concerns with is FIRE. While LiFePO4 and Lead Acid batteries both have the risk of catch fire while in use, the triggering mechanism is somewhat different, with the former by heat (mainly), while the other mainly by spark (igniting the H2 produce during charging). SO how does these differences affects driver / owners?

 

As I have shared in my earlier post, temperature in engine bay is typically 50 deg C or higher, even when proper air circulation is in place, and thus the fire risk with LiFePO4 battery is for real (objectively speaking). In the case of Lead Acid battery, concentration of H2 in the engine bay will be well below LEL (Lower Explosive Limit) with proper air circulation, AND almost non existent of spark (provided wiring and connection are intact / in good condition). All these are referred to as Likelihood of occurrence.

 

Now on severity, once a fire started in the engine bay, the whole car maybe brought to ash (worst case scenario) and injury maybe possible if the fire spread fast enough. So the same level of severity for LiFePO4 and Lead Acid batteries. Although in the SDS, Lead Acid do have more health and safety hazard than LiFePO4, such as corrosive, potential carcinogen, etc., but the harm will only be brought about if someone come into direct contact with the battery (including inhaling vapour emitted from it). Since direct or frequent interaction is not required between driver/owner and the battery, these additional hazards are thus negligible.

 

In conclusion, while Lead Acid batteries are not any safer than LiFePO4 batteries (in term of known health and safety hazards), most if not all user (driver/owner) will not be affected. And given the nature of how a fire may occur (in the engine bay), Lead Acid batteries is a safer option, imo. I am not writing off LiFePO4 batteries totally, but if there is a safer option available, why take on additional risk? [rolleyes] 

In my line, I  often have to ask for and look at section 4 (First Aid) and 11 (Toxicology) when the shit hits the fan. :D

 

Actually I have to look through all 16 sections before approving the material to be used...

 

In your case, there is one more thing to look for: @radx's contact, if everything else fail, tio boh? :D  :D 

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In the context of risk evaluation, there are 2 main criteria we need to focus on: Likelihood (of occurrence) and severity (of the risk). The 3rd one being what / who will be affected, which I shall explain in details in the later part of this post.

 

The key risk we are all concerns with is FIRE. While LiFePO4 and Lead Acid batteries both have the risk of catch fire while in use, the triggering mechanism is somewhat different, with the former by heat (mainly), while the other mainly by spark (igniting the H2 produce during charging). SO how does these differences affects driver / owners?

 

As I have shared in my earlier post, temperature in engine bay is typically 50 deg C or higher, even when proper air circulation is in place, and thus the fire risk with LiFePO4 battery is for real (objectively speaking). In the case of Lead Acid battery, concentration of H2 in the engine bay will be well below LEL (Lower Explosive Limit) with proper air circulation, AND almost non existent of spark (provided wiring and connection are intact / in good condition). All these are referred to as Likelihood of occurrence.

 

Now on severity, once a fire started in the engine bay, the whole car maybe brought to ash (worst case scenario) and injury maybe possible if the fire spread fast enough. So the same level of severity for LiFePO4 and Lead Acid batteries. Although in the SDS, Lead Acid do have more health and safety hazard than LiFePO4, such as corrosive, potential carcinogen, etc., but the harm will only be brought about if someone come into direct contact with the battery (including inhaling vapour emitted from it). Since direct or frequent interaction is not required between driver/owner and the battery, these additional hazards are thus negligible.

 

In conclusion, while Lead Acid batteries are not any safer than LiFePO4 batteries (in term of known health and safety hazards), most if not all user (driver/owner) will not be affected. And given the nature of how a fire may occur (in the engine bay), Lead Acid batteries is a safer option, imo. I am not writing off LiFePO4 batteries totally, but if there is a safer option available, why take on additional risk? [rolleyes]

 

 

Actually I have to look through all 16 sections before approving the material to be used...

 

In your case, there is one more thing to look for: @radx's contact, if everything else fail, tio boh? :D:D

Based on what you mentioned above, if battery store in boot, it is safer to use LiFePO4 battery.

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In the context of risk evaluation, there are 2 main criteria we need to focus on: Likelihood (of occurrence) and severity (of the risk). The 3rd one being what / who will be affected, which I shall explain in details in the later part of this post.

 

The key risk we are all concerns with is FIRE. While LiFePO4 and Lead Acid batteries both have the risk of catch fire while in use, the triggering mechanism is somewhat different, with the former by heat (mainly), while the other mainly by spark (igniting the H2 produce during charging). SO how does these differences affects driver / owners?

 

As I have shared in my earlier post, temperature in engine bay is typically 50 deg C or higher, even when proper air circulation is in place, and thus the fire risk with LiFePO4 battery is for real (objectively speaking). In the case of Lead Acid battery, concentration of H2 in the engine bay will be well below LEL (Lower Explosive Limit) with proper air circulation, AND almost non existent of spark (provided wiring and connection are intact / in good condition). All these are referred to as Likelihood of occurrence.

 

Now on severity, once a fire started in the engine bay, the whole car maybe brought to ash (worst case scenario) and injury maybe possible if the fire spread fast enough. So the same level of severity for LiFePO4 and Lead Acid batteries. Although in the SDS, Lead Acid do have more health and safety hazard than LiFePO4, such as corrosive, potential carcinogen, etc., but the harm will only be brought about if someone come into direct contact with the battery (including inhaling vapour emitted from it). Since direct or frequent interaction is not required between driver/owner and the battery, these additional hazards are thus negligible.

 

In conclusion, while Lead Acid batteries are not any safer than LiFePO4 batteries (in term of known health and safety hazards), most if not all user (driver/owner) will not be affected. And given the nature of how a fire may occur (in the engine bay), Lead Acid batteries is a safer option, imo. I am not writing off LiFePO4 batteries totally, but if there is a safer option available, why take on additional risk? [rolleyes] 

 

Actually I have to look through all 16 sections before approving the material to be used...

 

In your case, there is one more thing to look for: @radx's contact, if everything else fail, tio boh? :D  :D

 

Thank you for the insight regarding how both types of batteries might possibly catch fire - Heat for LiFePO4 and spark for lead acid and how the severity will be the same when the car catches on fire and brought to ashes (if it happens).  

 

I do like to point out that with the LiFePO4, there is the battery management system which has a temperature sensor that shuts down the battery when it hits critical temperature. Some also have an active cooling system available. Also, the battery is usually contained in a flame-retardant case to prevent the spread of fire but of cos I understand that freak accidents do occur and quality of product is also integral. 

 

However on the same note regarding heat & fire, I believe that lead acid batteries are susceptible to thermal runaway (LiFePO4 do not have such likelihood/risk), which is also brought about by heat. So doesn't this put both at the same supposed Likelihood of catching on fire?

 

I guess what Davidtch said is right, that if we put the LiFePO4 battery in the boot (if your car model allows), then it would be a superior option? What are your thoughts?

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