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While we’ve been not-so-patiently-waiting to get into our new Winnebago EKKO, I’ve been obsessively planning modifications and upgrades for it. One of the biggest items on my list has been an upgrade and expansion of its power systems. Since the factory installed batteries are made by Lithionics – and we plan to stick with those batteries due to our years of success with them – we thought it would be a good idea to get up to speed on everything that’s in these batteries. So… off to Florida we went! The result: this tour of the facility.
We had visited Steve and the Lithionics team several years ago. But a lot has changed for them over the years. We cover a lot in the video, but a few things stood out for me. I list the main ones below, but feel free to add your own observations down in the comments.
The Overriding Obsession with Safety and Quality
Fun Fact: Every Lithionics battery undergoes quality and safety checks that take more than twice as long as it takes to actually build the battery. It’s true. They charge and discharge every battery to verify that the capacity they advertise is actually delivered to you. They take thermal images of the battery under load to look for hot spots or loose connections. They keep the records of the tests – linked forever to your battery by a serial number. It’s really impressive.
I don’t claim to know everything about UL testing standards, but I hope I never have to endure the kind of testing these batteries have to for UL 1973. There are a lot of UL standards, but that’s the one that matters for batteries going into an RV. The big takeaway from the UL testing is that NO MATTER WHAT kind of insane, destructive, or deliberately malicious torture you put a Lithionics UL listed battery through, nothing bad is going to happen. Drop them. Shoot them. Burn them. Submerge them. They won’t catch fire, explode, go into thermal runaway, or leak toxic goo. (I don’t intend to actually do any of those to our batteries, but it’s comforting to know we could…) This kind of safety and peace of mind is definitely worth something to us.
They’re an Engineering Driven Company
This is mostly my opinion. But to me, the company doesn’t seem driven by marketing, or sales, or accountants. They’re driven by the technology. “Can we do it?” “Can we do it better?” “Can we make it safer?” These are the questions that keep the wheels turning at Lithionics. It’s kind of how I hope I would run a company if I had one. This isn’t to say that they don’t care about sales, marketing, and accounting. But I don’t think you would ever see an accountant at Lithionics tell the engineering staff to use a different part because there was an alternative that was 3 cents cheaper and “almost as good”.
Those were my big takeaways, but there are a lot of other bits of information in the video that you’ll find interesting. (Ever wonder how they do heater kits? You’ll see.)
Sound off in the comments below with any questions, and I’ll try my best to answer. Cheers!