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  • Writer's pictureTriad Electric Vehicles

Aftermarket batteries. They’re All the Same, RIGHT?

Updated: May 22

UH… No. By choosing an aftermarket Lithium battery that is not designed or engineered for the use in the original equipment, you can certainly put yourself in situation for a potential self-inflicted catastrophic electrical malfunction. Here's why.

 

It is very important to understand that modifying the vehicle outside the manufacturer’s recommendations with the use of any aftermarket battery can jeopardize the safety of the operations of the vehicle, and potentially cause serious unintended consequences.


First of all, most e-bike and scooter companies do not manufacture their batteries. We do. The battery that we manufacture is not the same cell type that is commonly sold online. Our battery is an automotive grade UL certified dry cell technology that is used in today’s electric cars. It is not a generic lithium LiPo or LiFePO4 battery.    

Our BMS powered battery chemistry is significantly different than the LiPo and LiFePO4 batteries that are common in today’s E bikes and mobility scooters. We choose it because it is scientifically proven for lower volatility, and it has a higher number recharge cycles. In terms of voltage delivery, the Triad Battery outperforms LiPo and LiFePO4The average voltage output of our battery is about 3.7V, compared to 3.2V for a LiFePO4 battery. This higher voltage makes Triad batteries better suited to high-power output applications, such as electric vehicles and that’s why premium electric cars are built with the same battery chemistry we use. It also makes the battery last longer when properly maintained. LiPo and LiFePO4 batteries are common to the market because they are mostly used for stationary energy storage like battery backups. Automotive grade Triad Batteries on the other hand offer high energy density as the preferred choice for all electric vehicles.

LiPo and LiFePO4 batteries may be significantly less expensive because those products have lower quality cell chemistry, and cheaper anodes and cathodes, and do not contain expensive or quality BMS. They are commonly built for basic energy storage, and these replacement battery packs you find online are not actually engineered to be rapidly discharged with high voltage. Most times the replacement battery seller will market using the term “BMS” to lead you to believe there is a BMS, but in reality, it’s nothing but an internal simple chip that transfers micro voltages from the charger to the individual battery cells for basic energy storage. That is not a BMS system at all. That little chip does not collect any data, it does not monitor or provide any protection of the battery cells in the same way that the Triad BMS system does. Learn the top 11 most important functions Triad Smart BMS Provides. CLICK HERE to learn more. https://www.3wheelelectricscooter.com/post/11-important-functions-triad-smart-bms-automatically-provides Our touchscreen monitor is not the battery management system. The BMS is inside the shell of the battery case. You can install the BMS without a monitor, but how are you supposed to know what the battery and BMS are doing without the data being sent to an interface that you can read and understand? The monitor is only a hardwired human interface to display the very basics of what our BMS does so the human being can understand the battery state at all times. The battery requires a human being to participate in maintaining it during regular use and to prevent self discharge while in dormant storage.  If you cannot understand the battery state, then you have no way to participate in order to extend the lifespan of the battery for long term value.


The Triad internal BMS is programmed to monitor many functions, but it only activates in the case of emergency, neglect, damage, and improper use.  Some people say, so what, who cares? What is a BMS anyway? Pfft. Battery Management System, no one needs that anyway. Well, we STRONGLY DISAGREE. These batteries are extremely powerful. They are 4-6X smaller, 10X lighter weight and hold 1200X more energy than a lead acid battery. Its hard to comprehend. It’s so hard to comprehend in fact, that the battery NEEDS its own computer to do the thinking for you! Without a real BMS, you have no control over the battery. You should never use any Lithium battery without professional BMS.


Electric cars are rolling battery management systems, cell phones are full of software and hardware for BMS, laptops too, and other high voltage devices all have internal BMS. E-bikes and scooters have no additional computer hardware, that’s why the battery needs to have all this safety equipment self-contained.

 

3 major issues with using Aftermarket Lithium Batteries.

 

1.        For the past 20 years the United States has been importing millions of counterfeit LiPo and LiFePO4 batteries and it’s a prolific and dangerous issue that most people are completely unaware of.  When purchasing aftermarket batteries that often look like blue or yellow shrink packs, it’s highly likely that some or all those cells that are inside there are actually recycled cells from used equipment overseas that have been removed from other products and re-packaged as “NEW” batteries and shipped into the USA for resale to unwitting American consumers. When a battery expert looks at these batteries, they can see that these aftermarket batteries are clearly designed for basic energy storage even though they are marketed for ebike and scooter replacements.

2.        You cannot use the charger that was supplied for the Triad battery to charge an aftermarket replacement battery. They are not the same voltages. Mixing aftermarket batteries with OEM chargers is extremely dangerous and potentially catastrophic. It may work in the short term, because you are definitely putting electrical energy into the battery, but, no one can know exactly what is taking place inside that battery because you are not using the manufacturer’s battery and charger. And even if you use the charger that is supplied with the aftermarket battery, you can’t be sure that the cells are not already aged out and about to overheat. There is no BMS to prevent catastrophic electrical malfunction. You also don’t know if that’s the actual proper voltage and amps for that battery. What we do know is that there is improper electrical continuity connected to an extremely powerful energy storage device. Using an incompatible charger can permanently damage a lithium battery. Lithium batteries require a specific type of charger that can manage their charging cycle, preventing overcharging and ensuring safety. Regular battery chargers are not equipped with the circuitry to handle the unique charging characteristics of lithium batteries. Beyond irreparable damage, using incompatible chargers can cause catastrophic malfunction leading to personal injury, and property damage. Never use a lead acid battery charger on a lithium battery. Lithium batteries do not accept float charges, and smart chargers are not trickle chargers.

3.        Use extreme caution when purchasing aftermarket chargers. Some low-end units may not terminate the battery correctly and those chargers are designed to rely on the battery’s internal protections circuit to terminate the charge when the battery is full. But what if the battery has no internal protection circuits? How do you know with aftermarket batteries? Redundancy in charging is important as the protection circuit of a battery can be damaged. If you purchase an aftermarket battery, it is likely you cannot know the proper charging voltage to get the right charger, and its also likely the charger that aftermarket battery may come with it has no safety protections built in, and its also likely that the battery cells are already used, AND we already know that there is no BMS system in there to monitor electrical anomalies. Strike 4! You're OUT!

  

We have a zero-tolerance policy for catastrophic electrical malfunction. The Triad battery has leading-edge technologies installed so that in the case of neglect, damage or misuse, the battery shuts down to prevent thermal runaway by disabling the battery. The BMS system provides error codes in the diagnostics which identify exactly what has occurred if the BMS is forced to activate for safety purposes.  

 

User safety is absolutely hypercritical. Not everyone takes care of their batteries. We know this and we engineer for this. However, there is no compromise for safety. The latest scientific breakthroughs in automotive lithium batteries are just being discovered in the past 2 years and are still undergoing high tech research and development. If the BMS activates its safety protocols, the battery is functioning properly for safety purposes as intended.

 

The vehicle products you see on the market that may look similar to Triad do not have the same components and they are not the same. Our battery exceeds industrial safety standards for years of daily operations. Aftermarket batteries may come at lower price, but that price comes with a high degree of certainty to cause a serious safety problem under rigorous daily use. Do not ever put a lithium battery into a lead acid product and vice versa. The components are not the same and by doing so you will create an electrical continuity problem.


Lastly, it is extremely important that you never leave a charger connected to a lithium battery beyond its maximum charging time. You must always remove the charger from the battery immediately once the charge cycle is completed. The charger requires a hard reset, to start a new charge cycle. A hard reset is unplugging the charger and allowing all the phantom power to phase out before it can accept a new signal from the battery and wall socket. If you are storing a battery long term, remove it before the charge cycle completes because Lithium batteries should not be stored at 100% full charge. They should be stored between 60-80% and with your Triad battery there is a monitor on the physical battery itself for you to see the exact amount state of charge the battery is in at all times.





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