How to Choose the Types of Lithium ion Batteries

Li-ion NCM Battery VS LiFePO4 Battery

Lithium battery, this word appears in our eyes almost every day. Batteries are a very important industry materials, and lithium batteries is the most recognizable and promising battery technology which are widely used on the market, in another word, from the small GPS tracker to large grid energy storage station, lithium battery plays a very important role.

How many types of lithium batteries are commercially used? What are they?

The most common one we know is the Li-ion NCM, or NCA technology. The battery nominal voltage is 3.6V or 3.7V (according to different manufacturers’ definition), recharge voltage is 4.2V or 4.25V, and discharge end voltage is 2.75V. Li-ion NCM & NCA batteries has high energy density, which is most preferable in many application usage, let’s take the most standard cell for an example, 18650 cell, the diameter is 18mm, height is 65mm, within such a small dimension, the cell can provides more than 12Wh energy storage, that’s amazing, isn’t it? But the experts are not still not happy with it. With the technology improvement, this number is still increasing.

Although Li-ion NCM and NCA battery has extreme high energy density, but it’s cycle life is not the best. Here comes the LiFePO4 Battery. In testing lab condition, by 1C discharge rate, 100% depth of discharge, LiFePO4 cycle life can reach to more than 3000 cycles when the remain capacity keeps 80%. LiFePO4 is widely used in the applications which requires long serving life, but are not removable so frequently, because it’s heavier than Li-ion NCM batteries, let alone the NCA battery.

Technically, those two kinds of batteries are the most common lithium secondary batteries which are achievable on the market by now.

Nominal Voltage3.6V3.6V3.65V3.6V3.2V3.6V3.2V3.2V
Recharge Voltage4.2V4.2V4.2V4.2V3.65V4.2V3.65V3.65V
Discharge End Voltage2.5V2.75V2.75V2.5V2.5V2.75V2.5V2.5V
Rated Capacity1500mAh(0.2C)2200mAh (0.5C)2600mAh (0.2C)3180mAh(0.2C)1500mAh(0.5C)5000mAh(0.5C)3400mAh(0.5C)2300mAh(0.5C)
Minimum Capacity1450mAh(0.2C)2150mAh (0.5C)/3000mAh(0.2C)1450mAh(0.5C)4900mAh(0.5C)3300mAh(0.5C)2200mAh(0.6C)
Resistance≤ 25mΩ≤ 20mΩ≤ 40mΩ≤ 35mΩ≤ 40mΩ≤ 20 mΩ≤ 30mΩ≤ 12mΩ
Max. Charging Current4A4.4A1.3A1.5A1.5A5A3.4A11.5A
Standard Discharge Current4.4A2.6A/0.75A5A1.7A11.5A
Max. Continuous Discharge Current23A17.6A7.8A10A4.5A15A10.2A46A
Pulse Discharge Current33A (5s)//10A (5s)15A(5s)70A (10s)
Cycle Life250 cycles800 cycles1000 cycles>300 cycles2000 cycles500 cycles2000 cycles300 cycles
100% DOD100%DOD100%DOD100%DOD100%DOD100%DOD100%DOD
0.5C Recharge1C Recharge0.5C Recharge0.5C Recharge0.5C Recharge0.5C Recharge1C Recharge
23A Discharge3C Discharge1C Discharge1C Discharge0.5C Discharge1C Discharge10C Discharge
60% Remain70% Remain80% Remain70% Remain70% Remain70% Remain70% Remain
Working TemperatureCharge:0°C~50°CCharge:0°C~55°CCharge:0°C~45°CCharge:0°C~45°CCharge:0°C~55°CCharge:0°C~45°CCharge:0°C~55°CCharge:0°C~55°C
Battery Energy(Wh)5.47.929.4911.4484.81810.887.36
Battery Weight45g (Max)44g(Approx.)≤ 46g≤ 49g41g(Approx.)About 95g87g(Approx.)85g(Approx.)
Weight Energy Density (Wh/kg)120180206.30233.63117.07189.47125.0686.59
Battery Size18.15(Dia)*64.85(H)mm18.4(Dia)*65.3(H)mm18.45(Dia)*65.05(H)mm18.5(*Dia)*65.3(H)mm18.15(Dia)*65.2(H)mm26.9(Dia)*65.5(H)mm26.15(Dia)*65.6(H)mm26.15(Dia)*65.6(H)mm
Battery Volume Density(Wh/L)80.50114.09134.62163.1368.50120.9577.2452.25
Price for Reference1.

Those are some very common cells are seen on the market. From the specification, you will see the differences:

  • Li-ion NCM 3.6V cells has higher energy density then LiFePO4, in another words, Li-ion is smaller and lighter compared to LiFePO4 Battery.

  • LiFePO4 has 2 to 4 times cycle life compared to Li-ion.

  • Li-ion is cheaper than LiFePO4.

  • Higher Rate cells are expensive than normal discharge rate cells.

  • High rate cells has short cycle life when discharge at high rate currents.