Electrical Energy Storage Technology

Lithium vs. Lead


Methods to compare the performance of starter batteries with varying chemistry

  • Cooperative research project 
  • Partner: TGM Lightweight Solutions (TGM)
  • Project duration: 2/2022 - 05/2022


Objectives and method

Starter batteries are currently built almost exclusively on the basis of lead-acid EFB or AGM batteries. Norms and standardized tests are defined for lead-acid batteries (LABs), providing comparable data for different products [1]. However, starter batteries based on lithium-ion batteries have also been the subject of recent discussion. These batteries offer a high specific energy, high energy density, low self-discharge rate, and a high rate of charge acceptance as well as maintain their charge performance throughout their life time[2]. Furthermore, a weight reduction of approximately 50% has served as the primary motivation for users to adopt 12 V lithium-ion batteries [2]. Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries are particularly considered as possible technology, as these material components are considered extremely safe [3,4] and the voltage level of four LFP cells matches the voltage level of a LAB.

However, there are currently no standards for lithium-ion starter batteries and the standards given in DIN EN 50342 [1] are explicitly designed for lead-acid batteries. As a result, there is a lack of methodology on how starter batteries made of LFP cells can also be meaningfully and resiliently compared with lead starter batteries. This project aims to introduce a test regime for the cold cranking of both technologies. The cold cranking ability of LFP batteries will be compared to LABs at different temperatures and SoCs.


[1] DIN EN 50342-1 Lead-acid starter batteries – part 1: General requirements and methods of test, 2015.

[2] Christoph Fehrenbacher, 12V Li-Ion Batteries – Ready for Mainstream Adoption, AABC Europe 2017.

[3] X. Yang, T. Liu, C. Wang, Thermally modulated lithium iron phosphate batteries for mass-market electric vehicles, Nature Energy, 2021.

[4] D. Doughty and E. Peter Roth, A general Discussion of Li-Ion Battery Safety, The Electrochemical Society, 2012, 21, 37.

[5] J. Jaguemont, L. Boulon, Y. Dubé, A comprehensive review of lithium-ion batteries used in hybrid and electric vehicles at cold temperatures, Applied Energy 164 (2016) 99–114.


Technische Universität Berlin
Electrical Energy Storage Technology
Institute of Energy and Automation Technology
Faculty IV
Office code EMH 2
Einsteinufer 11
D-10587 Berlin