Why Are LiFePO4 Batteries So Expensive?

By Matt •  Updated: 09/20/22 •  5 min read

As the LiFePO4 battery is trending now, people are switching to it, even though they are hugely expensive than other kinds of batteries. 

But you might be wondering- what’s in this battery that makes it so costly? I’ve looked into this matter, and I’ve found it here. 

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Why Are LiFePO4 Batteries So Expensive? 

LiFePO4 battery is pretty expensive upfront because the materials used in this battery technology are more expensive and of higher quality, making it the safest battery on earth. 

To understand why this battery is so expensive, you have to look at its characteristics. Then it will become clear to you. Here are some of the features of a LiFePO4 battery. 

Safe & Stable Technology of LiFePO4

LiFePO4 battery has amazingly stable chemistry. Because the battery is made from phosphate, it offers unparalleled thermal performance. As a consequence, this battery does not ignite or catch fire. 

Besides, the iron-based cathode makes it a safer option than lithium-ion batteries. As a result, even in extreme conditions, the LiFePO4 battery won’t explode or ignite. 

Outstanding Battery Performance 

In terms of performance, nothing is comparable to this battery. Slow self-release, long life, etc., are not just some terms. This battery will give you up to 5000 cycles at 100% capacity. 

LiFePO4 battery life cycle analysis graphs

This battery is so good that even Tesla uses it for its electric cars. Besides, it’s also widely used as the battery bank of solar installations. 

Great Space Efficiency 

This battery is hailed for its space and weight ratio too. The same capacity LiFePO4 battery takes up one-third space of a lead-acid battery. 

LiFePO4-battery-pack-need-minimum-space
LiFePO4 battery stored in minimum space thanks to its small size

Besides, this battery is very lightweight. That’s why using it in cars does not hamper aerodynamics and speed. 

Positive Environmental Impact

Since LiFePO4 batteries are not harmful and toxic; it does not harm our environment by polluting it. 

Besides, there is not a single rare earth metal used in this battery. So, the impact of the environmental impact of this battery is very low compared to other batteries. 

Is LiFePO4 Battery Worth It? 

LiFePO4 battery has excellent efficiency and delivers outstanding performance. If you want a safe and non-toxic battery, then LiFePO4 is your best bet. According to a research paper published in the Journal of Physics, LiFePO4 batteries have the following features: 

  • Excellent charge efficiency as the battery becomes fully charged in just 2 hours with the right charger. 
  • A higher run time than a lead-acid battery. 
  • A consistent power as you’ll get the same amount of amperage even below 50% battery life. 
  • Only 2% self-discharge rate per month when not in use. 
  • Virtually zero maintenance. 
  • Small in size and very lightweight. 

You will get up to 5000 battery cycles from a LiFePO4 battery, which is unimaginable for other batteries. That’s why this battery comes at higher prices. 

What Is Inside LiFePO4 Battery? 

LiFePO4 battery is made from expensive components, which makes the battery very expensive altogether. But what’s inside this battery? Let’s dive deeper and try to understand its chemistry. 

Tear down demonstration of a LiFePO4 battery

Lithium Iron Phosphate is a type of lithium battery. Instead of lithium-ion, this battery uses lithium iron phosphate as its cathode material. And as the anode, it uses a graphite carbon electrode with a metallic backing. 

Its energy density is 325 Wh/L. With cycle durability of 2750 to 12,000 cycles, it will last about 10 years. You will get a 3.2V nominal voltage from each cell. 

What Are The Cost Of LiFePO4 Battery Materials? 

The reason LiFePO4 batteries are so expensive is the price of their components. This battery has different elements than lithium-ion batteries. And these components are pretty costly. 

Let’s see the costs of LiFePO4 battery materials. 

Lithium Iron Phosphate Cathode 

LiFePO4 batteries have lithium-iron phosphate cathodes that are made from LFP Cathode powder. 500g of this powder costs about $280, which is pretty higher than other cathode materials. 

Graphite Carbon Electrode 

As the anode, LiFePO4 batteries use graphite carbon electrodes with a metallic backing. Generally, graphite carbon electrode costs about $4,000 per ton. Since this battery uses metallic backing with graphite carbon electrodes, the cost becomes even higher. 

Aluminum Foil 

LiFePO4 battery has aluminium foil that protects the battery cell from the outside temperature. The cost of aluminium foil is around $2,600 per ton. 

Apart from these, a LiFePO4 battery has many more components inside, but these are the vital components that make the main difference from other batteries. 

Here’s a table showing the prices of these components. 

ComponentsPrice
Lithium Iron Phosphate Cathode$280 Per 500 Gram
Graphite Carbon Electrode$4,000 per ton
Aluminum Foil$2,600 per ton
The main component average price of LiFePO4

The following table shows the price of the LiFePO4 battery and other batteries’ prices. 

Battery TypeCost
LiFePO4 Battery$137 Per kWh
Lithium-Ion Battery$132 Per kWh
Lead-Acid Battery$100 Per kWh
Alkaline Battery$92.5 Per kWh
Price Comparison of different battery types with LiFePO4 battery

Final Thoughts 

LiFePO4 batteries are expensive, not without any reason. As the components used in this battery are very high in quality, this battery has a pretty large lifespan than other batteries. That’s why people prefer them even though they are expensive. 

References 

1. S. Yuhao., (2022). Comparative Analysis of Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery and Ternary Lithium Battery. 

Matt

I’m Matt, a computer and electronic embedded system developer. Currently, working as an electronic engineer. In my leisure time, I do love to blog about technology stuff. Specially, new advance high tech devices. Portable solar systems are one of topic that I love to investigate. They are becoming more powerful day by day which keep me alert.

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