Why Are ATV Batteries So Expensive? Cost Breakdown


The function of ATV batteries is to power electrical components or start the motor. The batteries handle low-duty cycles and high current electrical loads like powering the winch and starting the engine. Although your ATV has a charging system, it still requires batteries, but why are they so expensive?

ATV batteries are expensive due to factors such as seller margins, core charge, materials, and transportation costs. ATV battery price on its own is reasonable, but these factors make it justifiable. It’s also because you have to replace ATV batteries regularly, and the costs add up.

The rest of this article will elaborate more on the different types of ATV batteries, their cost breakdown, and factors that drive up their prices.

Different Types of ATV Batteries

There are three types of batteries commonly used in ATVs, and they are:

Conventional Batteries

These are also known as ‘flooded batteries,’ referring to how their plates are submerged or flooded inside distilled water. With these types, you can refill the plates with distilled water and lead-acid with ease because they are equipped with removable filler cups. They are the cheapest of all ATV batteries but offer value for your money, especially in street applications.

Although conventional batteries are best for conquering a beaten path, they are prone to spillage hazards. Therefore, they aren’t suitable for off-road applications or Powersports.

Conventional batteries require frequent maintenance like refilling water in the plates. Check water levels periodically because if it dries up, there is a risk of damage. Damage on the plates reduces the batteries’ lifespan dramatically.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Also known as Lithium-Iron, these batteries use a different kind of manufacturing technology and a variety of raw materials that drive up the price. Although they are not the best option, Lithium-ion batteries are lighter, have a higher energy density, and run longer in comparison to other batteries. However, the charging system tends to be picky.

AGM Batteries (Absorbed Glass Mat)

They are also known as maintenance-free or gel-cell batteries. AGM batteries have fiberglass equipment that puts a wedge between the negative and positive battery plates. These pads absorb the electrolyte acid found within the battery.

They are beneficial to off-road vehicles because they do not pose a spillage hazard. Their useful features make them more expensive in comparison to conventional batteries.

Some of these features also include construction from vibration and shock-proof materials in most cases. If you are an extreme ATV rider, these are the ideal choice.

You can find these types of batteries from LionParts here or from ATV Batteries on Amazon. I personally prefer the AGM batteries and is what I use myself.

Below is a video on how to change an ATV battery:

Check out our article on How To Make An ATV Battery Last Longer for some tips on protecting your investment.

Cost Breakdown of ATV Batteries

Battery types have different price ranges that are mostly dictated by the materials used and the amount of energy it can store (Ah). Whether a battery is conventional lead-acid, Lithium-ion, or AGM, it will be more expensive if the AH-rating is high. The table below gives a cost breakdown of different ATV batteries, as per their Ah (Amp Hour).

Type of BatteryCost in dollarsAmp-hour – ratingPrice in dollars per Ah
Conventional367Ah5.14
Conventional378Ah4.63
Conventional7218Ah4.00
Lithium-ion15020Ah7.50
Lithium-ion19018Ah10.56
Lithium-ion800100Ah8.00
AGM4812Ah4.00
AGM13018Ah7.22
AGM9320Ah6.65

The average price per Ah of different ATV battery types is:

  • Conventional – $4.59
  • Lithium-ion – $8.69
  • AGM – $5.29

Factors That Drive Up the Price of ATV Batteries

Different factors make up the cost of ATV batteries that ultimately makes them more expensive. They include:

Material Costs

Materials used in ATV batteries contribute to almost sixty percent of the entire cost. The visible outer materials, such as plastic, do not contribute much to the price compared to those that are inside.

Prices of materials can soar and stabilize over the years, and one of the most expensive materials is lead in all lead-acid batteries. For Lithium-ion, materials include cobalt, aluminum, and nickel. Cobalt is the most significant price contributor so far.

Exported Recycling

Lead batteries can pose harm when not properly disposed of. For this reason, there is an advanced technology in the world accessible to the USA for recycling them.

However, strict regulations by the USA regarding lead emission prevent their smelting and disassembly in the country. In Mexico, there are less stringent regulations on lead emissions; hence most of it is shipped there to recycle.

There are several steps involved in the chain of recycling that includes turning lead batteries into ingots by smelters, which are then used to make new batteries.

These batteries are then shipped back to the US for use by consumers. These steps, plus shipping costs, make ATV batteries more expensive.

Raw Materials Supply Fluctuations

Ninety percent of lead output is a product of recycled batteries. Although this translates to eco-friendliness, recycling leads to fluctuation vulnerability of lead supply during production.

Weather pattern variations during the year also affect the recycling of lead batteries. During cold winters, most batteries die, thus resulting in the surplus of recycled lead. During warm winters that are followed by cold ones, the supply of recycled lead goes down due to unavailability.

With a low supply and high demand, the cost is higher, while an increased supply and low demand bring the prices down.

Storage, Shipping, and Handling Costs

Shipping, storage, and handling of ATV batteries make them more expensive because:

  • Lead-based batteries are heavy.
  • Transportation of the raw materials and finished battery costs more.
  • Due to the harmful chemicals inside the batteries, there are safety precautions that should be exercised.

Labor and Manufacturing Costs

Labor and manufacturing processes do not incur high costs as there is an advanced automated technology. The process is not very complicated; however, due to the use of dangerous materials like dielectric liquid, which is highly acidic, and lead, there are strict regulations.

For environmental safety, there are additional steps to safety precautions that apply. These contribute to extra costs that affect the overall price.

Low Market Share

Unlike car batteries, ATV batteries have a small market share. For this reason, they do not sell in huge numbers. Fewer companies invest in their production due to the costs involved, such as shipping, recycling, and storing. Being among some of the most hazardous materials, the regulations make it unfavorable for investors and make it more expensive.

Warranties and Extra Features

Some ATV batteries provide extra features, for example, the ability to perform well in cold weather. Such elements contribute to the overall cost of the finished product.

Also, some batteries have more extended warranty periods and are built to last long. These kinds are more expensive because longer warranties run a risk of incurring higher costs, and those that last longer have a complex manufacturing process.

Core Charge

This is a refundable deposit that is aimed at promoting the recycling of ATV batteries. Many states charge a compulsory core charge but return it when you bring back your batteries for recycling after they are worn and require replacement. Although you get a refund, this charge contributes to the additional costs of purchasing new batteries, making them more expensive.

Key Considerations When Purchasing ATV Batteries

  • Capacity: Select batteries that suit the charging system specifications of your ATV. Higher capacity batteries will never be fully charged, while those with lower capacity run a risk of overcharging.
  • Compatibility: When selecting batteries for your ATV, ensure they are compatible with the charging system by checking specifications by the manufacturer. Otherwise, an electrical failure might occur.
  • Durability: If you are a heavy rider, more vibrations will require durable batteries to prevent corrosion and leakage.

Bottom Line

ATV batteries are expensive, but their cost is justifiable by many factors such as cost of materials, supply fluctuations, core charge, export recycling, low market share, storage, handling, shipping, extra features, and warranties.

There are different kinds of ATV batteries that include conventional, Lithium-ion, and AGM. When making a purchase, consider their capacity, compatibility, and durability for maximum service.

Rob

That's me sinking another ATV. I love to ride no matter what it is, snowmobiles, four wheelers, dirt bikes, and anything else off-roading. I've experienced my fair share of machines, and like to share that experience here.

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