“Increasingly, lithium is becoming to batteries what silicon is to semiconductors—prevalent, even among worthy alternatives. In one form or another, the lithium-ion battery is the technology of our time.”
Self-discharge: One issue with batteries and ells is that they lose their charge over time. This self-discharge can be a major issue. One advantage of lithium ion cells is that their rate of self-discharge is much lower than that of other rechargeable cells such as Ni-Cad and NiMH forms.
No requirement for priming: Some rechargeable cells need to be primed when they receive their first charge. There is no requirement for this with lithium ion cells and batteries.
Low maintenance: One major lithium ion battery advantage is that they do not require and maintenance to ensure their performance. Ni-Cad cells required a periodic discharge to ensure that they did not exhibit the memory effect. As this does not affect lithium ion cells, this process or other similar maintenance procedures are not required.
Variety of types available: There are several types of lithium ion cell available. This advantage of lithium ion batteries can mean that the right technology can be used for the particular application needed. Some forms of lithium ion battery provide a high current density and are ideal for consumer mobile electronic equipment. Others are able to provide much higher current levels and are ideal for power tools and electric vehicles.
Ageing : One of the major lithium ion battery disadvantages for consumer electronics is that lithium ion batteries suffer from ageing. Not only is this time or calendar dependent, but it is also dependent upon the number of charge discharge cycles that the battery has undergone. When a typical consumer lithium cobalt oxide, LCO battery or cell needs to be stored it should be partially charged – around 40% to 50% and kept in a cool storage area. Storage under these conditions will help increase the life.
Transportation: Another disadvantage of lithium ion batteries is that there can be certain restrictions placed on their transportation, especially by air. Although the batteries that could be taken in aircraft carry-on luggage are unlikely to be affected, care should be taken not to carry any more lithium ion batteries than are needed. Any carried separately must be protected against short circuits by protective covers, etc.
Cost: A major lithium ion battery disadvantage is their cost. Typically they are around 40% more costly to manufacture than Nickel cadmium cells. This is a major factor when considering their use in mass produced consumer items where any additional costs are a major issue.
Immature technology: Lithium ion battery technology is a developing area. This can be a disadvantage in terms of the fact that the technology does not remain constant.