DCPower DCL48-100 LiFePO4 Battery
Corby-based DC Battery Technologies dropped off one of their recently launched DCPower Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries at Mothership marine for Tim and I to evaluate for Narrowboat propulsion. Unlike the Aceleron batteries, these use larger ‘prismatic’ cells to achieve a relatively high power density and a smaller internal component count, though this cell type requires rigid containment to prevent swelling.
The model we were evaluation was the DCL48-100, which, as the name suggests is nominally 48V with 100AH capacity. This appears to be a good size option for typically sized narrowboats where 3-6 of these would provide ~14-29kWh, sufficient for a good day’s cruising. Some of the other specifications include:
- Capacity per unit: 4.8kWh
- Life >3500 cycles/10 years
- Maximum cells in parallel: 16 (series connections not supported)
- Weight: 50kg, Dimensions: 44 x 45 x 19 cm
- Retail Price: Around £2,200 including VAT
Our impression was that the units were very well constructed with substantial connects well laid out for connecting stacked units in parallel. These are not water resistant so would have to be located in a dry ventilated location (and like all LiFoPO4 batteries, preferably insulated from temperatures below zero). They have announced a IP67 rated 105AH marine version however they didn’t provide us with detailed specifications.
Bluetooth monitoring via a smartphone is supported as well as a Victron compatible CAN bus connection – we didn’t have the the equipment to hand to test the interoperability with Victron chargers however they did provide the test configuration they used for validating this (we hope to verify this on the bench this summer). There are versions available with LCD monitoring panels on the front however given the other monitoring options and their likely installation location on a narrowboat these don’t appear to justify the extra cost.
Our quick take on its suitability for Narrowboat applications:
- Competitive £ per kWh acquisition cost which provides a real alternative to Lead Carbon cells
- Victron compatibility should greatly simplify the setup and battery management process
- These are substantial units which could easily be accommodated in a new-build, however it may prove more challenging to fit on a boat being retrofitted for electric propulsion,
Feel free to post any questions in the comments and we will try and answer or pass them onto the manufacturer. DC Battery do not sell this battery directly to end-users at this time, if anyone is interested in this battery, please drop us a note in the comments (we won’t publish any comments with personal contact information) and we will see if we can arrange for them to be purchased through the EBA.