Fusion Power Systems Importers & Distributors for Rechargeable Sealed Lead Acid Batteries (SMF) , Li-ion Batteries and Battery packs
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Importers & Distributors for Rechargeable Sealed Lead Acid Batteries (SMF) , Li-ion Batteries and Battery packs

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Battery Chemistries

There are six rechargeable battery types that have seen regular use in electric bicycle battery packs. We have never been involved with lead acid batteries, and discontinued dealing NiCad and NiMH packs in 2010.

Lead Acid

Lead acid batteries are the least expensive and heaviest battery option. They have a short cycle life if used regularly in deep discharge applications. For electric bikes, the most common setups use 12V bricks of either 7Ah or the larger 12Ah capacities, series connected to form 36V or 48V packs. Because of the Peukert effect, the 7Ah gel cell usually delivers about 4 amp-hours of actual capacity, while the 12Ah lead acid packs will deliver approximately 8 amp-hours. So keep this in mind when comparing a lead acid pack to one of the NiCd, NiMH, or lithium replacements. We do not offer lead acid batteries or chargers, but they are not hard to find.

nimh cell

Nickel Cadmium

In the rush to upgrade from lead acid to the latest NiMH and lithium packs, it seems that most companies forgot about the old venerable Nickel Cadmium battery as a suitable option for ebikes. Although they are somewhat heavier than the NiMH and lithium options, they are still a substantial weight savings over lead. NiCd packs have had a solid and proven track record in demanding rechargeable battery applications.


Nickel Metal Hydride batteries are about 20% lighter and 30% less voluminous than a NiCd pack of the same capacity. They have similar discharge and charge characteristics, but because of the higher energy density they are available in higher capacities than NiCd packs. Because NiMH is safe for disposal in the landfill while Nickle Cadmium is not, the metal hydride has almost completely replaced cadmium in most consumer batteries.

Lithium Polymer

Lithium Polymer is by far the lightest battery option out there. LiPoly cells that can handle very high discharge currents are becoming widely available and are especially popular in the R/C crowd for electric airplanes and helicopters, but ebike LiPoly packs are often made with cells that are only rated to 1C or 2C, and these don't usually deliver a very good cycle life count. The cells are produced in a thin plastic pouch rather than a metal can, making them structurally quite vulnerable unless supplied with a rigid enclosure. Although Lithium Polymer has a reputation for being volatile and failing with spectacular pyrotechnics, there are companies making cells these days that are quite stable and can pass the fullUN 38.3 overcharging and puncture tests without any flames.

life cell

Lithium Manganese

This is by far the most common lithium-ion chemistry used in electric bicycles. It is somewhat heavier than lithium polymer and the lithium-cobalt packs that are usually used laptops and consumer electronics, but is also safer. Most of the lithium manganese packs we have dealt with use rectangular steel canned cells and have good discharge capabilities. This chemistry holds its voltage better over the course of the battery discharge than Lithium Polymer, which tends to have a linearly declining voltage from 4.2 to 2.9 volts/cell during the course of the discharge, leading to a ebike that starts off feeling peppy and finishes feeling lethargic.

Lithium Iron Phosphate

The lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery has had a lot of hype and media attention lately. This is the same chemistry used by A123 in the Dewalt power tool battery packs, where it has a 2000 charge and discharge cycle warrantee and has phenomenal current handling capability. The LiFePO4 batteries sold for ebike use generally have much lower current ratings, and the actual number of charge and discharge cycles that these generic packs will provide remains to be seen, although most manufacturers seem happy to claim 1500 to 2000 cycles. Iron Phosphate lithium packs are only slightly lighter than NiMH and a fair bit more expensive, but they could be the most economical in the long run.

   Over a month ago