It is only natural that humans doubt the efficacy of new technologies and products, because they impinge upon our tried and true thinking and methods. Such is the case for the lithium-ion motorcycle battery as it is relatively new in the motorcycle market.
Here are several myths that we have heard of, thus it is our duty to address them.
1. Lithium-ion batteries catch fire easily
No one wants to look like the Ghost Rider while we ride. However, those batteries that catch fire are usually straight lithium-ion batteries that power small electronics such as smartphones and computers. As for those personal transport vehicles (i.e. electric scooters), most, if not all of them, use either normal lithium-ion batteries or lead-acid batteries while being charged for too long from the wall socket. While motorcycle lithium batteries are called "lithium-ion" they are actually constructed from lithium-ion-phospate (LiPo) blends for better chemical stability. Furthermore, there are still cases of ICE-powered vehicles catching fire, but it is always electric vehicle fires (usually Tesla) that catches the attention of the media although being rare.
2. But lithium-ion batteries get hot don't they?
A good lithium-ion battery features a Battery Management System (BMS). It functions to balance the recharge/discharge loads. Advanced BMS like those in Dynavolt batteries shut the battery down when there is an electrical overcharge or surge that can lead to overheating or fire.
Earlier lithium-ion batteries do not feature BMS and this was what led to overheating and fires, and consequently giving these power sources a bad rep.
3. They do not last very long
Again, this came from the time of non-BMS lithium batteries. As mentioned earlier, the BMS controls the rate of discharge and will turn off to avoid complete discharge. The battery will continue to function once recharged.'
Besides that, a lithium-ion battery typically discharges 1% of its capacity in 45 days, while a lead-acid battery discharges by 1% per day due to sulphation, unless charged.
Additionally, a Dynavolt lithium-ion battery can last for up to 5,000 charging cycles compared to a maximum of 1,000 for a lead-acid battery.
4. Lithium batteries tend to grow weaker
This is not true for batteries with a well-programmed BMS. In fact, the lithium-ion battery will produce consistent power until the very end. Comparatively, a lead-acid battery's capacity will degrade over time. When this happens, the ECU, injectors, fuel pump, spark plugs will receive lower voltage for them to work properly.
5. Lithium-ion battery needs a special charger
In truth, it is a necessity to have a smart charger for lead-acid batteries even if the motorcycle's charging system is in tip-top condition, as the battery does not know how to charge itself correctly. Meaning, it does not know which cell needs more charge or if one cell or more cells are getting more charge than the others. And, when left alone, the battery will start to sulphate even after a long ride. Thus, the lead-acid battery ideally needs to be charged all the time.
On the other hand, like what we mentioned earlier the lithium battery loses only a very small amount of its charge, thus a charger may not even be a necessity.
However, having a charger at hand is great because we do not know the condition of the motorcycle's charging system, and especially if the bike is only for weekend use or for racing application (no charging system).
So, yes, a lithium-ion battery requires a smart charger as it will "communicate" with the BMS to formulate the best charging strategy. Using a non-lithium-ion charger will result in the charger blasting the battery with extra voltage for desulfation (which is not necessary), prompting the BMS to shut down and not charging the battery.
6. The motorcycle's charging system must be in good condition
This is correct, too, as most 12V motorcycle systems charge at 14V, and a lithium-ion battery requires between 13V to 14V to charge properly. But let's look at it this way: A lead-acid battery also requires the same voltage to charge properly so if the bike's charging system is kaput, so will the battery, regardless of which type you use!
7. The weight savings of a lithium-ion battery does not mean anything
Saving weight on your motorcycle equals free horsepower as it ups the power-to-weight ratio. But the real matter is lithium-ion batteries provide much better energy density versus mass. Plus, a smaller and lighter battery is much easier to handle. On top of that, you do not have to content with caustic acid electrolyte.
8. Lithium-ion batteries are expensive
While this is true, a lithium-ion battery will outlast a lead-acid battery. There are reports that the former had lasted for 5 years and is still working like new. Compare that to replacing the lead-acid battery every 2-3 years and you already save money (and time).
As you can see, there are more advantages of using lithium-ion batteries. Please click on this link to check out the Dynavolt battery for your bike.