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Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the magazine.
In fact, we may even disagree with them. But, frankly, we usually do.
The Case for SLA Batteries
Lithium battery distributors have done such a powerful job of doubting the advantages
of Lithiums and discrediting SLAs (sealed lead acid) that they have convinced
much of the public that a Lithium battery is the only way to go. That is just not
the case. In this issue, Managing Editor, David Blensky–in his article: “How to
Purchase an E-Bike” makes the case for SLA batteries. He questions the validity of
the often made claim made by many Lithium battery distributors that an SLA will last
only a couple of years, while a Lithium will last 6 to 10.
If you read his article, please note that he does NOT question the superior technology
of Lithium over SLA–great for cell phones and such. But for e-bikes, it is the often
less than adequate end product that is of concern, and the overblown advertising
hype that accompanies it. Yes, the life of a Lithium battery (a good one that is)
will last two to three times that of an SLA . But 6 to 10 years? That’s just yet-to-be-proven
merchandising hype. Anyone who has ridden an e-bike with a Lithium battery for 6
years without problems please step forward. As for 10 years? Lighten up people!
Lithium e-bike batteries have NOT even been around that long. Furthermore, despite
their claims, we don’t see any of them willing to offer a 10- or even 6-year warrantee!
The SLA battery has been a proven technology for many years and manufactured in the
USA where service is always available, while the Lithium (for their use in powering
electric bicycles) is still a ways from being a perfected product.
Battery Weight Comparison:
Lithium battery distributors scare off many potential SLA battery customers by exaggerating
the importance of the difference in weight. A 36 volt Lithium battery including the
necessary mounting plate will weigh 10 lbs. A 36 volt SLA will weigh 25 lbs–a difference
of 15 lbs. Dave, in his article, explains how the battery–neither SLA nor lithium–rarely
represents over 9% of the combined weight of rider and bike.
A 36 volt Lithium battery will cost you anywhere from $450 up to $600 and sometimes
more. And don’t forget to add $100 shipping. And if you purchase direct from China
try to imagine a distributor in China servicing a battery in the USA. An excellent
36 volt SLA can be purchased for as little as $150 to $250 and it is made in the
good ‘ol US of A.