Exploring Lead-Acid Motorcycle Batteries: Features, Comparisons, and Replacement Guidelines

Lead-acid motorcycle batteries remain a prevalent choice, featuring lead-based electrodes and sulfuric acid electrolytes. Occupying 70% of the two-wheeled electric vehicle market, they are renowned for their weight, size, and safety, offering high recyclable value.

Structure of Lead-Acid Motorcycle Batteries:
Comprising positive and negative plates, electrolytes, separators, battery tanks, and safety valves, these batteries operate at a nominal 2V with a terminal voltage of 2.1V. The series typically involves 24 batteries, forming a 48V battery pack.

Working Principle:
The “bipolar sulfate theory” explains the lead-acid battery’s operation. Discharging transforms cathode and anode active substances into lead sulfate (PbSO4), reverting to the original state upon charging—cathode to lead dioxide (PbO2) and anode to spongy lead (Pb).

Comparing Lithium-Ion vs. Lead-Acid Motorcycle Batteries:

Lithium-Ion Motorcycle Battery Characteristics:

  • High Energy Density: Offers extended device operation due to superior energy density.
  • Longevity: Withstands multiple charge cycles without performance deterioration.
  • Lightweight: Ideal for weight-sensitive applications like mobile devices.
  • No Memory Effect: Does not require full charge/discharge maintenance.
  • High-Speed Charging: Facilitates rapid charging and discharging under proper conditions.

Lead-Acid Motorcycle Battery Characteristics:

  • Mature Technology: Widely used with stable technology in automobiles, UPS, etc.
  • High Reliability: Durable, reliable, and cost-effective.
  • Good Stability: Operates effectively across various temperatures and conditions.
  • High Safety: Lower safety risks due to fewer complex chemical reactions.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Offers affordability compared to lithium batteries.

Comparative Analysis:
From Price Comparison:
Lead-acid batteries prevail due to their lower cost and higher recovery price. In terms of price, lead-acid batteries hold an advantage.

From Technical Comparison:
Lead-acid batteries’ mature technology offers stability and reliability, contrasting with the weight advantage of lithium batteries, particularly for lightweight applications.

From Longevity and Weight Contrast:
Lithium batteries outshine lead-acid in terms of lifespan and weight, making them preferable for longevity and reduced weight.

Why Not Use Lead-Acid Batteries for High-Speed Motorcycles?

  • Energy Density Limitation: Lead-acid batteries lack the necessary energy density to support high-speed electric motorcycles.
  • Size and Weight Constraints: Lithium-ion batteries, being smaller and lighter, offer better energy distribution in the vehicle, enhancing range and user experience.
  • Charging and Discharging Performance: Lithium batteries showcase superior charge/discharge capabilities, crucial for high-speed electric motorcycles.

When to Replace Lead-Acid Motorcycle Batteries:

  • Cycle Charge and Discharge Exhaustion: Typically, lead-acid batteries last 2-3 years or 300-350 cycles. Once exhausted, their performance declines irreversibly.
  • Prolonged Power Loss: Batteries left unused for extended periods tend to lose power irreparably.
  • Bulging and Structural Changes: Severe bulging signifies internal structural changes, making the battery hazardous.

In summary, while lead-acid batteries are suitable for low-speed vehicles, they lack the necessary performance for high-speed electric motorcycles, prompting the transition to lithium batteries. Knowing when to replace these batteries is crucial to maintain efficiency and safety standards.