Is It a Good Idea to Invest in a Lightweight Car Battery?
A lightweight car battery isn’t necessarily a common purchase for most drivers. While overall vehicle weight affects fuel economy, performance and handling, your car battery is nowhere near heavy enough to make a significant difference in this regard. However, when used together with other measures for making a vehicle lighter, a lightweight battery can actually carry a lot of “weight” when it comes to increasing the car’s performance and even turning it into a worthy racing vehicle.
Why Would You Consider a Lightweight Battery?
The benefits of a lightweight car battery for racing and other unconventional purposes are often clear. But what does the average car owner have to gain by investing in a potentially expensive battery just to reduce weight? The long term benefits can be substantial. A lightweight battery is much smaller and more portable, it can be protected more easily from unfavorable conditions such as low temperatures, and it can even be transferred to the trunk for more convenient storage.
Light Car Batteries and Racing
In the world of racing, a lightweight car battery can often make the difference between a great lap and a slow one. In the United States, competitive racing teams spend up to half a million dollars per year just on engine programs, and they need to make certain that their cars are able to tackle any racetrack. Racing batteries typically reduce the weight down to 10 lbs. or less, and can cost up to $2,000 per unit. The performance of these batteries, however, often exceeds that of regular lead-acid units.
Lightweight Battery Alternatives
Battery technology is evolving, and nowadays the price of good quality lithium-ion batteries is lower than in the past. Nevertheless, a lightweight car battery using advanced lithium-ion technology is still quite pricey, so you might want to consider other alternatives as well. Lawnmower batteries, for instance, are much smaller and lighter than a regular lead-acid car battery, but they have the cranking power you need to start the car. However, their lifespan and reliability is much lower than that of a regular unit. Cheaper alternatives to racing batteries also exist that can provide a lucrative workaround to the lightweight battery problem, sometimes being available at a much lower cost, and their performance rating being quite promising, depending on the brand you choose.
The Bottom Line with Most Lightweight Units
When you buy a lightweight battery, you’ll want to take a look at its performance ratings and check what specialty sites, forums and online testimonials say about the battery’s long term ability to maintain its charge. In many cases, certain lightweight battery units can be a practical choice, while others are highly sensitive or difficult to install. The good news is you don’t have to turn your car into a racing vehicle to gain some of the practical and performance-related benefits of a lightweight car battery, and there are plenty of cheaper alternatives to the high cost batteries that competitive racing teams tend to use.