What is the Best Battery for Cold Weather?

Dakota Lithium 12V 23Ah LifePO4 battery ice fishing

Winters in North Dakota can get really cold. Each winter we see temperatures in the -40F to -20F at our factory in Grand Forks, ND. That’s cold enough that you can throw a cup of coffee in the air and it will freeze before hitting the ground.  Up here on the great plains the cold weather is unforgiving – high winds, deep snow, long nights. Dakota Lithium was born out of this rugged landscape. We wanted to build a battery to endure harsh conditions and low temperatures for a long time. Here’s what we learned:

Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries Are the Best Choice for Cold Weather

If you are powering your fish finder, trolling motor, RVs, boats, golf cart and electric car, or providing storage for solar energy, Dakota Lithium’s iron phosphate batteries offer superior performance over lead-acid batteries, especially in cold weather:

  1. Dakota Lithium batteries have a longer lifespan – typically 4 to 5 times longer than a SLA battery depending on application.
  2. They are 60% lighter weight.
  3. Dakota Lithium batteries have double the rated capacity in normal temperatures, and up to triple the capacity of SLA when discharging below freezing. This is because the voltage curve is flat for a Dakota Lithium battery – you get all the power down to the last drop. Plus the voltage and storage capacity does not drop significantly in below freezing temperatures. This means a 10 Ah Dakota Lithium replacement battery would have twice as much usable power as a 10 Ah lead acid battery in normal temperatures, and up to 3x the capacity of a lead acid in very cold weather.
  4. In addition, They require no maintenance and can be mounted in any direction (even upside down).
  5. Dakota Lithium batteries also charge faster, and don’t require a full charge before they can be stored or used.

Dakota Lithium iron phosphate batteries can be discharged safely over a wide range of temperatures, typically from –40°C to 60°C. This makes them a good choice for use in all-weather conditions and all seasons. But in the winter is where they shine. Unlike other lithium batteries, Dakota Lithium is uniquely well suited to cold weather applications with minimal loss of capacity and performance. For example, this last winter you may have heard stories about Tesla cars performing poorly in the cold, or other electric cars having shortened battery life. Dakota Lithium iron phosphate is a different lithium chemistry that is more stable and uniquely can hold a charge and discharge at much lower temperatures.

In addition, lithium iron phosphate batteries also perform better at colder temperatures than lead acid batteries (SLA). At 0°C (freezing point), for example, a lead-acid battery’s capacity is reduced by up to 50%, while a lithium iron phosphate battery suffers only a 10% loss at the same temperature.

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Dakota Lithium Batteries Deployed in the Arctic Circle

This summer the US Army Corps of Engineers installed Dakota Lithium batteries in sensor equipment across Northern Alaska. The reason why? They last so long and keep working even during the cold arctic winters, making DL an ideal choice for use in rugged and remote environments.

We’re very proud to be working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on this harsh environment field study. Basically, they’ve chosen us to replace their lead acid units in this situation because of the legendary price-quality-service mix offered by the Dakota Lithium team. Not only do the Dakota units function very well in cold and extreme environments, but our R&D staff is able to bridge the gap from the battery over to field equipment and research projects, and share key insights about how the battery can be optimized as a part of a client’s wider design.”  — Michael Shope, Chief Technology Officer, Dakota Lithium

Dakota Lithium batteries deployed in Alaska by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

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