What is a Lithium Battery and Why Use One?

August 22, 2020

Image for What is a Lithium Battery and Why Use One?

Lithium-ion batteries have been around since the 1970s. The batteries were non-rechargeable and only lasted for a short period of time. Commercial production took off in the 90’s and the technology has been improving ever since.

At first, lithium-ion batteries were primarily used in smaller consumer electronics. As time passed and the technology has been refined, their application has greatly expanded, Manufacturers began to see their value in automotive and motorsports world and began to invest heavily in research and development.

A lithium-ion battery offers superior performance and several distinct advantages over the traditional batteries when it comes to powering your car, truck, boat, or golf cart.

We have put together the handy guide below to answer some of the common questions about Lithium Batteries.

What is Lithium-Ion?

Lithium iron phosphate batteries are an increasingly popular way to power electronic applications, including recreational vehicles, solar energy systems and military hardware. Although it costs more upfront, lithium provides superior longevity, efficiency and safety benefits compared to traditional, lead acid batteries.

While there are many different types of lithium-ion battery designs, they operate in the same basic mannerism:

The battery itself contains a cathode, anode, electrolyte, separator, and a positive and negative current collector. The cathode and anode store the lithium. The job of the electrolyte is to carry the positively charged lithium ions from the anode to the cathode and back again through the separator.

As the lithium moves along, it creates free electrons in the anode area—this creates a positive charge at the positive current collector. The electrical current moves from the current collector through the car and then back to the negative current collector[1] [TD2] .

The technology that powers lithium-ion batteries has improved dramatically over the decades—to the point that they offer some pretty valuable advantages over a traditional lead-acid battery:


Lithium-ion batteries are low-maintenance, which is an advantage that many other battery chemistries do not have. They do not retain a memory, nor do they require scheduled cycling to prolong life, and have a much higher energy density than a traditional lead-acid battery.

This means they can store much more energy in the same physical space. This directly translates to more power for longer periods of time. Lithium-ion batteries are also extremely efficient. They’re rated around 95% efficiency versus around 80 to 85 percent for a standard lead-acid battery.

One of the biggest advantages of lithium-ion batteries is the amount of research and development that battery manufacturers are investing in. The technology that powers these batteries is growing by leaps and bounds every year. This means that they will incorporate their new discoveries into future battery models—a win-win situation for both manufacturer and consumer.


One of the most significant current drawbacks to lithium-ion batteries is their price when compared to traditional lead-acid ones. They can cost upwards of 40% more for the same type of battery. However, this is offset by their superior performance, reliability, and efficiency.

Lithium Battery Applications

Lithium-ion technology has found its way into many of the devices that power our lives. Cell phones, laptops, watches, and vehicles are all taking advantage of the higher power and improved performance that lithium-ion offers.


Mariners and pleasure watercraft operators alike know the importance of having a reliable battery. The open water is the last place you want your onboard batteries to fail. This is why serious boaters opt for a marine lithium-ion battery, such as the RELiON.

The clean and consistent voltage keeps all electrical gear and systems happy, healthy, and working when you need them most. The longer cycle life of the RELiON battery means you’ll spend more time having fun on the water and less time re-charging the battery.

When it finally comes time to re-charge, you can take advantage of the Rapid Recharge technology that will allow you to cast off again in about an hour. A full re-charge takes around three hours.

Golf Cart

Lithium-ion batteries offer several performance upgrades for golf carts when compared to a traditional AGM and flooded ones. For starters, they weigh less and re-charge faster—this means less downtime, and this is why more and more manufacturers are upgrading their golf cart batteries to lithium-ion technology.

The Trillium brand lithium-ion golf cart battery provides golfers and course managers alike with a superior cell and battery design that’s coupled with intelligent, built-in diagnostics. It has a life expectancy of well over 5,000 cycles and will deliver an excellent investment over time. In short, you’ll spend more time on the greens and less downtime in the shop.

Continental Battery Company

We hope this frequently asked question guide has helped you gain a better understanding of Lithium Batteries. At Continental Battery Company, we’ve been providing our customers with high-quality batteries and top tier service for over 85 years.

We’re dedicated to developing and maintaining great and long-lasting customer relationships backed up by our superior quality products. With almost a century of business experience under our belts, we’re able to provide our customers with expert battery knowledge, high-quality products, and an unwavering commitment to customer service. Contact us today to learn more about our company and our complete line of power solutions.