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What are the different types of car batteries? Are car batteries 12V or 24V and why?

There are many different types of car batteries on the market, some that may be suitable for your car and some that may not. There are a variety of voltages, makes and models, some that were popular in the past, and others that are lauded as the wave of the future. With all these options and choices, it’s no wonder that many people struggle to get a new battery without assistance.

Finding the right car battery for you shouldn’t feel like an impossible chore, so here we will take you through some of the common types and help get you on the road to a new battery today.

What are the different types of car batteries?

There are many different batteries around that are made of various materials and perform in all manner of ways. Some use alternative components, while others should be used to power specific vehicles and not others. Here is an overview of some of the key types to get you started:

  • Lead Acid Car Batteries

This battery is made up of lead plates that serve as electrodes, a liquid electrolyte solution, and sulfuric acid which react together to create power. These are the most common car batteries on the market, so if you are in doubt about your battery, it is most likely a lead-acid one.

Some of these batteries are not sealed, meaning that you have to check the water levels and they may need topping up from time to time. You can also find sealed lead acid batteries, or SLA, which don’t need to be maintained.

  • Valve-regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) Car Batteries

These sealed, maintenance-free batteries still use the same components, lead plates, sulphuric acid, and electrolyte solution, to create power. When the batteries are charged and the process occurs, hydrogen gas is released which needs to be vented to prevent the battery from exploding.

The VRLA battery has been constructed to stop hydrogen building up in this way so that it can be sealed, reducing the risk of spillage and the effort of maintenance.

  • Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Batteries

Fairly similar in construction to the lead acid batteries, AGM batteries do not have an electrolyte solution, but rather use a synthetic fibre mat soaked with sulphuric acid instead. This takes the place of the electrolyte to make the battery work.

AGM batteries are sealed, meaning that you don’t have to check on the levels inside or have anything to do with them once they are in until a new one is needed.

  • Starting, Lighting and Ignition (SLI) Batteries 

Made to create short bursts of power, for example when starting your car, SLI batteries do not carry the same battery life as AGM batteries, but they are very useful and necessary in many cars. As described, their main functions are to start the car, control the lights, and other electronics like the radio.

They are also the choice for high-output vehicles like golf carts and forklifts due to their short bursts of high levels of energy.

  • Lithium-Ion Batteries

If you have a hybrid or electric vehicle, this may well be the battery for you. They store more energy than other batteries and are fantastic for green energy, so arguably are the batteries of the near future.

There have been some safety concerns linked with lithium-ion batteries, but as long as they are manufactured correctly, great strides have been taken to alleviate these concerns and produce safe batteries that can be used every day.

Is a car battery 12V or 24v? 

In general, almost all car batteries are 12V, with very few actually being 24V. One simple way to check if you are not sure is to look at the battery currently in your car. If your battery has 6 cells, it is 12V, while 12 cells mean it is 24V. If that is still confusing or you can’t immediately tell, your battery should say on the label what voltage it is.

24V batteries can be harder to come by, and more expensive, than their 12V counterparts. They are generally used in larger vehicles like big trucks or buses, as well as RVs and large boats. These types of vehicles can have higher power needs than a normal car and need a more powerful battery to go with it.

As stated above, 12V batteries are generally much more common and are found in almost every car that you might find on the road. If you are in any doubt, you almost certainly have a 12V battery in yours too, though again you can check and see for yourself by looking at the battery.

Why are car batteries 12 volts?

One of the main reasons that most cars use a 12-volt battery is because all of the components in the car, like starting, lighting, and ignition systems, are all tailored to work with a battery of that voltage. In many RVs as well, many appliances and systems like refrigerators and lights, work best at 12 volts.

If you attempted to power many of these systems with a 24V battery, it would not end well. You would need a converter to correctly reduce the power to suit their 12V needs. This would cost more and can lead to energy being lost, so it makes far more sense to simply use the 12V battery as required.

If you still have any questions about car batteries and which the right fit is for you, consult a professional and expert company like G7 Battery and they will answer all your queries and set you up with the perfect choice for your car.

Conclusion 

There are a great many types of batteries available on the market today, but in general, all car batteries are 12V, and you can check the type of battery you have by looking at it and asking for the same again when purchasing.

Great strides are being taken to develop better and more efficient batteries all the time, so if you think it may be time to change yours check out the market and see what is available to you.

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