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The cost of battery is a vital concern when selecting the right battery for the applications or projects. So, what are the factors behind taken on the lithium-ion battery's price? Generally, the cost of lithium-ion battery lies in the battery cell, PCM or PCB ( Protection Circuit Module or Board), and casing. Meanwhile, in view of the differing power consumption of electric devices and current, the choice of material used between Li-ion battery cells such as nickel sheets, the connectors, and different Pack assembling processes will affect the cost of batteries.
Today, we will elaborate the three main factors leading to the difference in Li-ion battery's price.
1. The Selection of Battery Cell
1.1 Different materials
First is the chemistries of battery cells. There are multiple choices of cathode materials within the Li-ion battery. The cathode materials which have been used to achieve battery performance include Cobalt-based lithium-ion (LCO), Lithium iron phosphate (LFP), lithium manganate (LiMn2O4), ternary materials such as Nickel Cobalt Aluminum (NCA) and Nickel Cobalt Manganate (NCM or NMC), Lithium titanate, etc. Because of the different materials used in the battery cells, the performance of voltage, safety factors, cycle life, energy density and working temperature will change as well, and finally affect the cost of Li-ion battery.
1.2 Different Brand Battery Cell
The price of battery cells varies relating to the brand. For instance, special batteries including low-temperature batteries, high temperature batteries, high C-rate batteries and shaped batteries, created by different manufacturers, will affect the cost of batteries because of the different techniques between manufacturers. Some battery cells from small manufacturers may have a cheaper price at the expense of battery performance. Although the price of batteries from big brands such as Korean battery company LG, Chinese company BYD, UFO, etc may be higher, they ensure good and safe battery performance.
2. The Selection of PCM in Lithium-ion Battery
The selection of PCM for lithium-ion battery is another factor that influences the entire battery price. Lithium-ion batteries could cause battery failure or even catch fires under improper operation, therefore, PCM is necessary for Li-ion batteries to avoid safety hazards. There are three main parts of the PCM design: basic battery protection, communication, and battery management system. Let's explain further below.
2.1 Basic battery protection
In order to control the battery performance, each lithium-ion battery has a basic protection that protects the cells from high/low voltages, currents during charging and discharging. In line with the customers' request, some other protection like over temperature protection could be added to the battery, which will increase the price of the entire Li-ion battery pack.
When battery monitoring and control are needed, there is always a communication network. For this, each cell comprises a communication interface for data transmission. Communication protocols can be divided into I2C, RS485, RS232, CANBUS, HDQ, SMBUS, etc. There is also a simple battery LED indicator which indicates the charger meter.
BMS refers to the Battery Management System, which mainly provides intelligent management and maintenance of each battery cell. Through monitoring the battery status, detailed data are offered for the user so as to help them prevent the battery form over charge and over discharge and gain a longer service life of Li-ion battery by proper use. The key functions of BMS include real-time monitoring of the battery's parameters, battery status estimation, online diagnosis and early warning, control of charging, discharging, and pre-charging, balanced management and thermal management. The more complicated the BMS, the higher the price of battery pack.
3.The Selection of Li-ion Battery Cases
Lithium-ion battery cells can be encased in diverse casing, including PVC heat shrink, plastic, and metal. The option of battery's casing and design generally depends on the specific requirement of battery-powered devices. Therefore, the cost of battery pack varies with different material of casing. What are the differences between these materials?
3.1 PVC heat shrink
PVC heat shrink is commonly used for small lithium-ion battery packs which less number of battery cells connecting in series or parallel with an light overall weight ≤2kg. However, for those battery packs weighing more than 1kg, a fixed bracket between the battery cells, and fiberglass sheet around its periphery are both needed before PVC heat shrink.
After the battery cells finish assembling in different shapes, the price of plastic enclosure will be affected on the basis of the complexity of enclosure design. For example, if the enclosure is in irregular shape, the mould cost will eventually put up price of the battery pack. Besides, the demands on the enclosure material and technique, especially those batteries requiring three proofing properties are what cause the price variance.
Metal enclosure has a good performance in heat dissipation than plastic enclosure, making them get a higher price in the market. Similarly, the cost largely relies on the request of metal casing. The waterproof metal enclosure or some special metal enclosures such as a titanium enclosure will be sold for a higher price while the common metal battery pack could be cheaper.
Due to the technical complexity of the product, the procurement amount and other requirements, the lithium battery prices are changed greatly. When choosing UFO POWER as your cooperative partner, a particular battery proposal will be provided by our experienced engineer to meet your requirement of device, saving your time cost of finding a supplier and enjoying the fun from full power batteries.
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