We are very familiar with what will take place when we pull into the Clearwater site for Lithionics each year. We have been here every year each Spring (mid-late February to early March) for the last six years. The first year was the initial installation of the Generation One Lithium Ion Batteries in our coach. We had agreed to test these two batteries (both a chassis and a coach battery). Part of that agreement was that we would return here every year and they would remove the batteries to “bench-test” them to have accurate data concerning the batteries and their “normal” usage in a motorhome. This year was no exception. It was our fifth time back there. The batteries have been used for five continuous years as we continue to live fulltime in our motorhome.
We started with 380 amp hours and are now at 300 amp hours, or, a loss of 21% of the original capacity. The battery is fully usable, and, I have not really noticed much performance difference or increase in charging time on the generator. I always watch for a noticeably “shortened” dry camping time. If I notice the increase in generator run time, my battery can be rebuilt. The estimated cost today for cell replacement is $1,900.00 but that would be, essentially, a new battery with a new warranty, and potentially, another 5-6 years of use. It is estimated that this battery will last between 1 to 2 more years. Note the differences in the two images here. The top is from 2011 and the bottom is from 2016.
As discussed previously, breakeven was at 42 months and we are way past that mark with fully 5 years total use. There is a cost savings with long-term usage.
We have always known that at some point our lithium battery would need to be rebuilt or changed. That time is not here yet but we plan to keep a closer eye on it during usage this year.
On a completely different topic, Lithionics has developed a new battery case (shown here). For those of you who make it a point to look at my batteries (several of you do) when possible, this new case seems totally functional and looks good, too!
As I have consistently said, my actual “use” of the batteries changes constantly depending on where we are traveling. We went to Alaska for three months during summer 2015 and we boondocked 55% of the time up there. Our batteries got a LOT of use. The rest of the year was pretty normal for us with boondocking about 40% of the time.
However, regardless of the test data, I have said consistently that these batteries must work for me and my lifestyle—and they do—I did not change my lifestyle to “fit” the batteries. I am still happy with them and now we are definitely into our sixth year of testing. This year will likely be a lesser test as we plan to go to New England. There are simply fewer options to boondock up there.
Try this… Send an email to Lithionics Battery or go to their website at lithionicsbattery.com and fill in a request for information and obtain the pictures, or, e-mail Phil at Lithionics Battery to obtain the documentation of the battery aging!
I’ll keep you posted.
Contact me for any questions or comments at… firstname.lastname@example.org