Types of Lead-Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries (LABs) are important in the daily lives of every person in British Columbia.  LABs are used to:

  • Start our vehicles, boats and recreational vehicles;

  • Power our electronics, telecommunication systems and safety systems (e.g., emergency lighting, fire alarms) during power outages;

  • Start commercial trucks and public transport such as buses, trains and planes; power forklifts;

  • Provide back power for data centres for bank networks, computer systems,

  • Store power for alternative energy applications

LABs range in size from 2 kg in a small emergency lighting system to 20 kg in an average passenger battery to thousands of kilograms in commercial applications.

Because of the wide range of LABs, the stewardship plan groups the LABs into the following 3 categories:

 

Category

Weight (kg)

Typical Application

Starting, Lighting and Ignition (SLI)

2 – 50

vehicle and truck batteries

Motive

15 - 1,250

fork lift batteries

Stationary

2 - >10,000

back up power

 

The average life span of a LAB varies depending on their design and application.  SLA, vehicle and commercial truck batteries are designed to last approximately 60 months.  Motive batteries (e.g., used in forklifts, golf carts) are a different design and are expected to last 10 years while Stationary batteries that typically serve as emergency or reserve power are much larger and can last for more than 20 years.

 

The market for LABs in Canada is estimated to be $500 million in sales annually.  Approximately, 88% of those sales are to the vehicle and commercial truck applications.  The remaining 12% are for motive and stationary applications.