The price of lithium-ion polymer (LiPo) batteries is mainly determined by their cell, PCM or PCB (Protection Circuit Module or Board), and casing. The material used between cells, such as a conventional or formed nickel sheet and connectors also affects the cost of the batteries.
The selection of cells of different chemical materials affects the price of the entire lithium battery. There are various materials such as lithium manganese (3.6V), lithium cobaltate (3.7V/3.8V), lithium nickel cobalt manganate (also called ternary, 3.6V), lithium iron phosphate (3.2V), lithium titanate (2.3V/2.4V), etc.
Different chemical materials have different voltage platforms, safety factors, cycle life, energy density, operating temperature, etc.
The prices of different cells vary depending on the brand. The price gradient can be divided into the following groups: special batteries (including low-temperature batteries, high-temperature batteries, high C-rate batteries, shaped batteries), Japanese batteries (Panasonic, Sanyo, Sony), Korean batteries (Samsung, LG), Chinese batteries (Piccolo, BYD, ATL, GREPOW).
Lithium battery’s PCM or PCB
The PCM design can be divided into three parts: basic protection, communication, and a BMS
There are basic protections against overcharge, over-discharge, overcurrent, and short-circuit protection, and even over-temperature protection can be added according to product requirements.
Communication protocols can be divided into I2C, RS485, RS232, CANBUS, HDQ, SMBUS, etc. There is also a simple battery LED indicator which indicates the charger meter.
The BMS is a battery management system that maintains each battery cell to prevent overcharging and over-discharging, extend battery life, and monitor the battery status. Its main functions include real-time monitoring of the battery’s physical parameters; battery status estimation; online diagnosis and warning; charge, discharge, and pre-charge control; and balanced management and thermal management. Subsystems are mostly used in electric vehicle batteries.
Designs of Lithium battery cases
Lithium battery case designs can consist of PVC heat seal, plastic, or metal. The specific type of outer case of a battery depends on the specific needs of a customer’s product.
PVC Heat Seal
Heat-sealed PVC packaging of a battery pack can be generally used for battery packs that have an overall weight ≤ 2kg. For battery packs with an overall weight of ≥1kg, it is necessary to add a fixing bracket between the cells and then to use a PVC heat seal.
The costs behind plastic casing can vary depending on the tools (tooling costs are a big expenditure), plate shell proofing (handmade strength is not as good as molded products), and materials used.
If a product has not been shaped before or the demand is not high, it is generally recommended to use sheet metal especially as the lead time can be shorter. The cost depends largely on the water-resistant rating for metal housings and even more so for special materials such as titanium alloy.
The price of Lithium-ion Polymer Batteries is mainly composed of the battery cell, PCM, and structural parts, plus the PACK cost, aging cost, and management cost of the enterprise. At the same time, due to the technical difficulty of the product, procurement volume, defective rate of different requirements, lithium battery prices will vary greatly.
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