Gel car battery lifespan. Autonomy*

Gel vs Lithium Battery: What’s the Difference?

There are many different battery types out there and two of the most popular are gel and lithium. You may have been wondering when it comes to gel vs lithium battery, what’s the difference between them? Is one better than the other or are they mostly the same?

Thankfully for you, we’re here to answer all your questions! We’ll see what similarities they have, as well as their crucial differences. Let’s start by looking at an overview of these two battery types.

Gel Batteries

These types of batteries are valve-regulated lead-acid batteries with pre-calculated quantities of electrolytes and sulphuric acid. These are then mixed with silica fumes.

The chemical reaction you’ll get is an immobile gel-like mass that gives gel batteries their name. over, its gel-like mixture provides electrolytes with an ideal consistency and thickness so the batteries can work anywhere without fume emissions.

These batteries are commonly used in camcorders, smartphones, marine equipment, and electric vehicles since they are spill-proof. Also, they have longer discharging power, so gel batteries are used in RV (recreational vehicle) apps, floor scrubbers, golf carts, etc.

Benefits of Gel Batteries

Leak-free and No Need for Maintenance – Since gel batteries consist of gel instead of liquid, there is no need for too much maintenance. Also, since it can remove extra pressure due to being valve-based, its encasement becomes leak-free and convenient.

Vibration Resistant – These batteries can withstand extensive vibrations and other similar outer impacts. The gels within them help absorb impact, so you can use the batteries for things like four-wheelers.

Minimum Fumes – Since the batteries are made of gel, there are minimal fume emissions while it’s at work. It means gel batteries can be used anytime, anywhere, and even in places with less ventilation.

Lithium Batteries

Primary batteries with metallic lithium as an anode are called lithium metal batteries. After lithium-ion batteries were invented, these batteries were labeled lithium-metal batteries. Unfortunately, most lithium batteries aren’t rechargeable.

What makes the lithium cell different from other batteries is the high cost per unit and high charge density. Depending on the design and chemical compounds, they can generate voltages ranging from 1.5V to about 3.7V.

There are three primary kinds of lithium batteries: manganate, ternary, and iron phosphate. The latter can offer ideal solutions for the renewable energy industry. Stable chemical materials, low maintenance, and lightweight help to make them convenient for transport and installation.

These batteries are available in AA/AAA, C, D, coin/button cell, and 9v sizes. Lithium batteries are found in everyday items such as flashlights, cameras, toys, and even medical devices and security systems.

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are used in vaping devices, personal electronics like smartphones, tablets, laptops, E-Bikes, and even electric vehicles. They also work with toothbrushes, tools, hoverboards, scooters, and storage for solar power backup.

As the industry progresses, these batteries will be further utilized in more products.

Since lithium is a light metal, these batteries have the highest energy density compared to other battery cells. As a result, they can store more energy than alkaline batteries or any comparable single-use battery. Additionally, these perform admirably in extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold.

Usage Times

Between lithium-ion and lead acid batteries, there is a stark difference in the life of the battery during day-to-day operations.

Lithium-ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries feature a battery life that has a remarkably fast charging time. This allows multi-shift crews to use lithium-ion battery power for longer periods of time over the course of a day and charge the battery when convenient.

That’s because lithium battery packs have no memory effect, making partial charges possible. In fact, partial charges are safer and can prolong the overall life of a lithium-ion battery.

A typical charge or use cycle for a lithium-ion battery is 8 hours of use, 1 hour to charge and another 8 hours of use. No cool down period is needed. This allows the battery to be used continuously throughout a 24-hour shift, with downtime occurring only during short periods of opportunity charging. This can occur during workers’ lunch breaks or in between shift changes.

battery, lifespan, autonomy

Because of the way the life of a lithium-ion battery is designed, it’s important to always keep this type of battery at least partially charged. If batteries are reduced to zero or extremely low charges, circuits put in place for protection may turn off. The circuits are put in place to protect the battery. When a battery is discharged to extremely low levels dendrites can form which can short circuit the battery.

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries, on the other hand, produce a substantial amount of heat when charging. Because of this, they require a “cool down” period afterward.

battery, lifespan, autonomy

A typical charge and use cycle for a lead acid battery is 8 hours of use, 8 hours of charging and 8 hours of rest or cool down. This means a lead acid battery can only be used for one shift per day. If a company employs workers to cover two or three shifts, lead acid batteries must be swapped out. That means per vehicle or piece of equipment, two to three batteries are needed (one per shift).

Lead acid batteries also require a storage area with adequate ventilation so that dangerous gases do not seep into other work areas while they charge and cool down. Transporting the batteries to these locations takes additional time out of a worker’s shift.


Large battery packs used in industries like warehouse operations and airport ground support equipment are an investment, no matter the type. So, operations benefit from batteries that can be used in a fleet as long as practical.

Lithium-ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries have a long life expectancy if used correctly. This is a distinct advantage for operations that rely on efficiency and high production levels.

Contributing to longer lithium-ion life cycles includes:

In fact, the overall life of these rechargeable batteries in pallet jacks is 2 to 3 times longer than lead acid batteries. Run time testing has shown that the Lithium-Iron Phosphate batteries used in a Flux LiFT Pack for an electric walkie pallet jack run 45% longer than similarly rated (amp-hour) lead acid batteries.

The minimum lifespan most manufacturers expect from lithium-ion batteries is around 5 years or at least 2,000 charging cycles. But, if well cared for and used in proper conditions, lithium-ion batteries can last as long as 3,000 cycles.

lead acid Batteries

lead acid batteries, as well, have a similar life span in terms of cycles. Many manufacturers point to a similar figure of at least 1,000 charging cycles if used in proper conditions. However, extreme heat and other environmental factors can significantly reduce the life of a lead acid battery.

In addition, the increased maintenance requirements for lead acid batteries can also lead to shorter lifespans. It is not uncommon for personnel to have poor maintenance tracking procedures or not care for lead acid batteries in the manner recommended by the lead acid battery manufacturer.


In both lithium-ion and lead acid batteries, there are several factors that can influence the life of the battery.

Lithium-ion Batteries

Here are some of the factors that influence battery life:

  • Extreme temperatures: Lithium-ion batteries are extremely resilient to high and low temperatures. Lithium iron phosphate, the chemistry used by Flux Power, is especially resilient. We even offer heaters for batteries that will be used in cold temperatures to ensure a longer lifetime for the battery.
  • Improper storage: How a battery is stored can affect its lifespan. Lithium-ion batteries should be stored at a partial charge in a cool place. They should have around a 40% to 50% state of charge when being stored. If being stored for extended periods of time it is important to monitor the battery every couple of months and charge it back up to 50% if it gets too low.
  • Deep cycling: The life of a lithium-ion battery can be impacted by deep cycling. Unlike other deep cycle batteries, partial charges prolong the life of a lithium battery.

For more factors that influence the life of a lithium-ion battery, read our article, How To Maximize Lithium-Ion Battery Life.

lead acid Batteries

Environmental factors and how lead acid batteries are used also play a significant role in battery life. These factors include:

  • Extreme temperatures: Like lithium-ion batteries, the lifespan of a lead acid battery can be shortened when exposed to extreme temperatures, especially heat. After charging, lead acid batteries require a cooldown period because the act of charging produces high amounts of heat.
  • Water levels: Overfilling water levels in a lead acid battery can cause electrolyte loss, reducing the lifespan of a battery. This can also promote corrosion of the battery, which can cause batteries to unevenly charge, which reduces lifespan.
  • Deep discharge: The life of a lead acid battery suffers when a deep discharge occurs, and the battery is left “dead” for an extended amount of time.

Bottom Line

Purchasing batteries for a fleet is a significant investment. The life of each battery directly impacts the efficiency of a company’s operations and its workers.

One of the greatest advantages a lithium-ion battery provides is its long lifespan and extended battery life during day-to-day operations. With a short downtime for charging, lithium-ion batteries are especially beneficial in multi-shift locations, such as in warehouse operations.

One battery can provide source of power for three shifts. A lead acid battery, on the other hand, can only provide power for one shift of eight hours before it requires a charging and cooldown period. This requires one battery per shift for each vehicle, which cost companies significantly more in the long term.

The ideal batteryfor your electric vehicle

Depending on the needs and how you want to use your electric vehicle, Alke can provide three different types of battery: lithium, lead acid or lead gel. Each type of technology has its own advantages, but it’s important to choose the one most suitable for the specific use you will be putting it to, in order to obtain the maximum benefit. Let’s take a look at the main characteristics of the three different batteries.

The ideal battery for your electric vehicle

excellent autonomy long lifespan quick recharging increased load capacity free maintenance


limited cost versatile Long lifespan

completely sealed free maintenence can be used in closed places

Why you should choose a lithium ion battery (LiFePO4)?

up to 86 km / up to 200 km

This type of battery almost doubles the autonomy of an electric vehicle.

These batteries offer approximately 2000 cycles, which means they last longer than the other types.

They can be 100% recharged in 1.5h hours (80% in 1 hour), and partial recharging is also possible so they’re ideal when the vehicle is used 24 hours a day.

They’re much lighter than the equivalent batteries that use other types of technology, so the vehicle has a greater effective capacity. a fact that can make a significant difference, especially when the vehicle is used off-road (where there are no type-approval regulations concerning weights).

A wide variety of fields of use because, apart from covering the gel needs (maintenance-free), they offer certain additional features as well. If you want increased autonomy and first class performance, that’s the right choice. The only limit may be their higher cost.

In the case of vehicles fitted with a lithium battery, the battery area has a winter pre-heating function so work can be carried out even in places with harsh sub-zero temperatures.

Types of Golf Cart Batteries

There are many types of golf cart batteries, and each has its pros and cons. You can find 6-volt golf cart batteries, 8-volt golf cart batteries or 12-volt golf cart batteries to provide the 36- or 48-volt system. Run time is typically improved with 6-volt golf cart batteries, but you’ll need more of them to meet the golf cart’s needs, which can increase the weight and make installation more difficult.

In addition to finding the right power capacity, you can choose from different types of golf cart batteries, such as lead-acid, absorbed glass mat (AGM), gel lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries. These batteries have different benefits, with some performing better in extreme weather while others provide a longer lifespan.

Lead-Acid Golf Cart Batteries

Lead-acid batteries are one of the most common battery types for golf carts. These traditional batteries have the benefit of being the most affordable option and are easy to maintain. But they tend to have a shorter lifespan than more advanced golf cart battery types, typically lasting only about two to five years. Lead-acid golf cart batteries are also heavy, not an ideal trait in such a small vehicle.

Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Golf Cart Batteries

AGM batteries have absorbable electrolyte and fiberglass plates within the battery that allow the battery to charge up to five times faster than a conventional lead-acid battery and protect against leaks, which can corrode and shorten the battery lifespan.

These batteries require little maintenance and may last up to six or seven years. One drawback is that they’re a more expensive option, which can really add up in costs when you’re servicing a fleet of golf carts.

Gel Lead-Acid Golf Cart Batteries

True to its name, a gel lead-acid battery uses a gel to suspend the electrolyte within the battery. Electrons can flow through the gel from plate to plate, providing leak-proof protection and minimal maintenance. This design also helps this type of golf cart battery power through extreme temperatures, particularly cold weather that can shorten the lifespan of most golf cart batteries. These batteries don’t offer the quick charging of AGMs, though.

Lithium-Ion Golf Cart Batteries

Small and lightweight, lithium-ion golf cart batteries are a more expensive upfront investment but can offer better savings in the long run. These batteries are known for lasting a long time, usually over 10 years and as many as 20 years with proper care.

Lithium-ion batteries require little maintenance since you don’t need to add water. Self-discharging can be an issue with other golf cart batteries, but lithium-ion batteries have a low self-discharge rate that allows them to sit for longer periods of time without becoming drained of power.

Signs a Golf Cart Battery Needs to be Replaced

Suspect a failing battery? Check for these signs that you need a golf cart battery replacement before you’re left with a completely dead battery.

Over time, your golf cart batteries will likely take longer and longer to charge. You could notice the battery taking anywhere from a couple of extra hours to recharge compared to normal or an entire day before it’s ready to go back onto the course. If your battery is taking longer than 8 to 10 hours to recharge, it is likely nearing the end of its lifespan.

When you press down on the gas pedal, you expect the golf cart to start moving. If the golf cart is struggling to pick up speed when you push down on the gas, it could be a sign of an aging battery. You may also notice the golf cart has an even more difficult time than usual getting up and over hills.

Your golf cart used to travel several miles in a day before it needed to be recharged. Now, it can only go a mile or two before losing power or the golf cart battery lasts for way less time between charges. This is another indicator that you need a golf cart battery replacement. The golf cart battery should be strong enough to at least get around a golf course for a few rounds of golf.

You drive the golf cart away from the storage area but notice it has left a puddle behind. This could be a sign of a battery leak in lead-acid batteries. Lead-acid batteries can leave behind toxic chemicals that are harmful to you, your property and the environment. If you notice a leaking battery, it’s important to clean up the leak and replace the battery as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Aside from a leaking battery, there are many other visible signs of a damaged battery. Batteries may have corrosion or could crack or bulge. Corrosion can cause further and more expensive damage, like causing terminals to release or causing the battery casing to crack.

Recharging the batteries can generate heat, which, over time, causes the batteries to bulge. Visible damage, including corrosion, cracks or bulges are common indicators of an old, worn-out battery.

Golf Cart Battery Maintenance

Whether you power your golf carts with lead-acid batteries, AGMs, gel lead batteries or lithium-ion batteries, the equipment is only as good as the attention and care you give it. A little TLC can be the difference between a golf cart battery that only lasts a few years versus a battery that lasts nearly a decade.

Charge Properly

When it’s time to recharge the golf cart fleet, make sure to only charge the batteries for about 8 to 10 hours at a time. Overcharging can damage the battery cells and could dry out the battery, meaning you need to refill the water more often. Only charge until the battery is full rather than leaving the golf cart charging all the time when it isn’t in use.

Don’t Let Batteries Die

While you don’t want to overcharge your golf cart batteries, you also want to avoid letting the batteries die too. Ideally, you want to keep the batteries at least halfway charged and no lower than 20% charged. The optimal charging limits will be provided by the battery manufacturer, so follow those instructions closely to prolong the life of your battery.

Store Carts in a Warm Place

Aside from gel batteries, most golf cart batteries don’t stand up well to cold weather. Cold temperatures can drain the battery. Store the carts in a warm garage or other storage space, and try to avoid driving them in extreme temperatures. You can use a trickle charger during colder months to keep the battery charged without overcharging it.

Minimize Strain on the Battery

While it might be fun to ride golf carts up and over big hills on the course or around the property, stick to straight, flat pathways whenever possible. Going up hills requires more power from the battery, and doing this frequently can wear down the battery sooner.

Inspect Batteries Regularly

If you want your batteries to last longer, regular inspections will help you catch any problems early. First, you’ll want to check lead-acid batteries once per month and keep the water at the fill line. For batteries that don’t need water, inspect the batteries for visible damage and test the voltage about once every couple of months.

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