There are 2 most popular lithium-ion batteries on the market: one is lithium iron phosphate battery, referred to as LiFePO4 or LFP battery, which is one of the safest lithium-ion batteries at present; the other is a ternary lithium battery, which contains NCA/NMC battery, where the market for NMC battery is larger. It is undeniable that both types of lithium-ion batteries have many loyal fans in the market. But who is the winner?
What's LFP battery and NMC battery?
LFP battery refers to a lithium-ion battery that uses lithium iron phosphate as a positive electrode material. The voltage is relatively moderate, around 3.2V. LFP battery is also a kind of lithium battery that we have more contact with at present. Our household energy storage and photovoltaic systems basically use LFP batteries, mainly because of their superior safety.
NMC battery refers to a lithium-ion battery in which the positive electrode material is composed of three materials of nickel, cobalt, and manganese in a certain proportion, and the negative electrode uses graphite. The voltage of the NMC battery is relatively high, around 3.7V. At present, it is widely used in the electric vehicle industry, such as Tesla, BYD, etc.
What's the difference between LFP battery and NMC battery?
This may be the most central question. Due to the different manufacturing materials, the difference between LFP battery and NMC battery is actually relatively large, and the final results will show two different directions.
- The Price
This is probably the difference that most people care about more. Generally speaking, NMC battery is more expensive than LFP battery, because the raw materials of NMC batteries are more expensive than the raw materials of LFP batteries, and the phosphorus and iron are everywhere on the earth, but because the manufacturing cost of LFP battery is more expensive, and the process is more complex, so, in comparison, the price of LFP battery is not too cheap. Overall, the price difference between these two batteries is about 20% under the same capacity.
- Energy Density
At the current stage, the energy density of NMC batteries is higher than that of LFP batteries, which means that if used as power batteries, NMC batteries will have better performance than LFP batteries. High energy density means better acceleration performance. But in terms of energy storage, LFP batteries are better than NMC batteries. In a nutshell, NMC batteries have good performance but poor endurance, and LFP batteries have poor performance but good endurance.
- Temperature Tolerance
Since the materials of the two batteries are different, their tolerance to temperature is also different. The NMC battery has a relatively balanced temperature tolerance and can work normally in normal low temperature and high-temperature environments; while the LFP battery has a stronger high-temperature tolerance than NMC batteries, but on the contrary, the low-temperature tolerance is relatively poor, at 0°C, the performance of the LFP battery will decrease by about 10~20%, and at -20°C, the performance is only about 60% of the original. This is why LFP batteries are not recommended in cold regions.
In terms of safety, LFP batteries are overall better than NCM batteries. The chemical properties of the LFP battery itself and its structural frame are very stable. Even if it is penetrated, squeezed vigorously, and thrown at a high altitude, it will not catch fire and explode, and only smoke will appear to the greatest extent. On the contrary, the safety of NMC batteries is much worse, especially at abnormally high temperatures, the possibility of fire and explosion is relatively large, which is one of the reasons why NMC batteries have been criticized.
- Cycle Times
Generally speaking, because it is often used in some places with strong power demand, the cycle life of NMC battery is often only about 800 times, while the cycle life of LFP battery can reach an astonishing 3,000 times or more, and if used properly, it can reach more than 6,000 times. Also a very common thing. This means that LFP batteries are somewhat more durable.
- Service Life
As long as you use it properly, the LFP battery can achieve a service life of more than 10 years. Because it is often used for power demand, most NMC battery only has a service life of about 2 to 3 years. In contrast, the life of LFP batteries is very long.
Which battery is the winner?
In general, LFP batteries and NMC batteries have their own advantages and disadvantages. It can be simply understood that LFP batteries exchange lower performance for high safety and long service life, while NMC batteries give up for high performance. Partial safety and longevity.
Therefore, who is the winner of NCM batteries and LFP batteries is actually an inconclusive question, which mainly depends on your usage scenario. If you pursue high performance, NMC battery is the best choice; but if you pursue longevity and safety, LFP battery is your better choice. And there is no doubt that for daily DIY battery packs or energy storage, LFP battery is the most recommended, because the needs of ordinary people like us are very simple: long-lasting and safe.