There are many different types of car battery. Hybrid or all electric vehicles, where the energy to the electric motors is provided by a battery, generally utilize lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries have a high energy density, which means the batteries can be lighter and they are also fast to charge. They are also relatively very expensive!
The most common type of battery used in cars with a traditional engine are often referred to as a “starting, lighting, ignition battery” or SLI battery for short. As the name suggests, these provide the energy to start the car and provide power for the lighting. In modern cars the role of the battery has expanded as the technology of the car has become more energy intensive.
There are several types of SLI battery, which one is used in your car is largely down to the age of the car and the performance required. All of these batteries utilise lead-acid technology and can be broken down into the 2 primary types, wet cell and VRLA.
| Wet Cell Batteries
Wet cell batteries are also known as “flooded Batteries”. The battery case holds a series of cells made up of lead plates which are submerged in a mixture sulfuric acid and water, known as electrolyte. Wet cell batteries require occasional maintenance, predominantly to top up battery water level in the cells with distilled or deionized pure water. Wet cell batteries are cheap and robust. They are not so common on modern cars due to the energy demands of modern cars and the necessity to maintain the battery.
A sub category of Wet Cell batteries is the Enhance Flooded Batter (EFB), also known as Advanced Flooded Battery (AFB). EFB batteries are a go between of Wet Cell and VRLA. They have been designed specifically for modern smaller entry level stop-start vehicles, which have a high cycle demands, but a lower energy draw.
| Sealed – Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA)
VRLA batteries are the most common type of battery to be found on cars but are more expensive than wet cell batteries They are sealed and have pressurized safety valves in each of the battery’s cells. VRLA batteries are “maintenance free”. They are safer than wet cell batteries as they do not leak when tipped over. The most common type of VRLA battery used in automobiles is the Absorbed Glass Matt (AGM)
AGM batteries operate with faster reactions between the enclosed electrolyte and a fiberglass mat. This allows the battery to deliver higher power rates in short bursts. They cope well with the high energy demands of stop-start vehicles.
When the time comes to replace your car battery it is advisable to get a like-for-like battery. If you are considering changing the battery type, then seek the advice of an expert first. Using an unsuitable battery could lead to issues in the future.