Battery life is defined by the number of charge/discharge cycles a battery can survive.
Some testing has shown that lithium iron phosphate batteries can last about 2,000 charge/discharge cycles, compared to perhaps 1,000 for lithium ion batteries. These tests go to the point where the batteries hold noticeably less charge, rather than testing to a point of utter failure.
The primary problem with lithium cells is their degradation. Over time a lithium ion cell will lose capacity, with a total lifetime of 2-3 years. The exact lifetime is a function of the amount of use, the amount discharged between recharging, and other factors such as the temperature of the cells.
Note: The discharge rate of a Li-ion battery keeps increasing over the time as compared to Li-iron.
Long life, slow discharge rate and less weight should be basic features of a daily use battery which is when a lithium iron battery is appreciated as it is expected to have a longer “shelf life” than a Li-ion.
When not in use, a battery should not lose its charge at a faster rate. It should deliver almost same performance if using after a year or so. This so called shelf life is around 350 days for lithium-iron and about 300 days for a lithium-ion battery.
Cobalt is more expensive than the iron and phosphate used in Li-iron. So the lithium-iron phosphate battery costs less (safer materials make it less expensive to manufacture and to recycle) to the consumer than the lithium-ion battery.
A lithium power source can offer significant advantages if:
A high voltage is needed (i.e. 3.0 to 3.9 volts per cell)
A recharging circuit is not available or too costly
The power source has to be as light weight as possible
Long shelf life is required
A wide temperature range is required
Reliability is crucial
Extremely high energy density is needed
Environmental concerns such as temperature, vibration or shock are especially severe
Your application demands a continuous source of power for extensive periods of time
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