Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2011 Lexus IS 250- Why not a better battery?

Lately with all the new electric vehicles powered by Li ion batteries and power banks used to jump start dead batteries why are we still using lead acid batteries in gasoline cars? Why not a Li ion battery?

1 Like

I’m interested in the responses. Same question would apply to NiCd, NiMH, and LiFe batteries. My guess it would be a combination of heat generated and cost. But these are just wild guesses.

1 Like

You can get other batteries as drop in replacements for many cars, as I recall though, for the specific application of primarily being used to start a car, lead acid has better longevity than most of the others. For an electric or hybrid, it’s a different story.

Because of the current they supply at starting an engine,

And because they’re cheaper.


This is probably the biggest reason. Cost. Lowest bidder.

1 Like

Lithium Ion, Lithium Polymer NiCd, and NiMH are all deep cycle batteries and while they can be used to augment a lead acid battery to start a car, they aren’t suited for starting unless you use batteries that are will over 100 volts.

Under high current drain situations, Lithium batteries are known for catching on fire. To start a vehicle with 6-48 volts, lead acid is still the best.

Because Li-Ion car batteries cost $950 to $1300 retail and a conventional lead-acid battery costs $139.

A few years ago Porsche sold one for their cars that was very light and cost $2500… but Porsche!

They are more than capable of starting cars without catching fire. They last longer than lead-acid - more charge cycles. They are lighter than lead-acid. Below is a link to a Group 31 car battery. A rather big battery that weighs 75 lbs as a lead-acid and 28 lbs as a Li-Ion.

1 Like

They’ve become pretty common for motorcycles, I think. Li-ion that is.

Did the battery come with a new car? :slight_smile:

I think you’d need a couple more zeros to get the car, too! :money_mouth_face:

And lead acid batteries don’t have a tendency toward thermal runaways. Every once in awhile you see some poor guy on the news whose cell phone caught fire in his pocket. That’s because that’s what Li-ion does sometimes. Ask Boeing what this can do to a vehicle – before they killed a bunch of people with the 737 MAX, they set a few fires on 787’s because they used Li-ion batteries that weren’t made very well.

For non-airline consumers, if it’s just a cell phone then you’ve lost maybe a grand (and the manufacturer will probably replace it for you as a “please don’t keep talking about this on the news” gesture). If it’s a car, well, there goes 20-50 grand out the window, and since lead acid works just fine, why change?