Reducing Total Cost of Ownership with a Lithium-Ion UPS

Posted by Enconnex Team on October 30, 2020

As with most IT assets, the initial purchase price of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) represents only a small portion of the total cost of ownership (TCO). Some of the other components of UPS TCO include:

  • Installation in a cabinet or rack
  • Power, cooling, and other operating costs
  • Footprint / space requirements
  • Maintenance of the battery and other components
  • Lifespan of the battery

You might not think there’s much difference in TCO among the various types of UPS units. However, lithium-ion UPS units can deliver significant savings over traditional UPS units that use valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries. Although lithium-ion UPS units have a higher initial purchase price, that only accounts for about one-third of the TCO. Learn more about the benefits of lithium-ion battery UPS units here.


Comparing the TCO of Lithium Ion and VRLA UPS units


Battery Life

Lithium-ion batteries last significantly longer than VRLA batteries without performance degradation. Typically, you won’t have to replace the lithium-ion battery over the 10-year lifespan of the UPS. While some VRLA batteries last six years, most will have to be replaced after just three years.

How that affects TCO: The cost of two additional VRLA batteries and the labor involved in replacing them adds to the TCO calculation. There may also be battery disposal costs.

Operating Temperature

One of the biggest factors affecting battery life is operating temperature. Lithium-ion UPS units can operate at up to 105 degrees without affecting the lifespan of the battery. The recommended operating temperature for VRLA batteries is 68 degrees to 77 degrees. Operating above 77 degrees can have a significant impact on VRLA battery performance, losing about half of their life expectancy for every 15 degrees above the recommended range.

How that affects TCO: You have to keep VRLA UPS units as cool as your IT equipment. That adds to the operational costs of your data center and thus the TCO of the UPS.

Energy Usage

UPS batteries are “trickle charged” meaning that enough electricity is supplied to offset the battery’s self-discharge rate and keep the battery fully charged. The typical lithium-ion battery has losses of about 0.1 percent from trickle charging, compared to about 0.2 percent for VRLA batteries.

How that affects TCO: VRLA batteries consume 50 percent more energy than lithium-ion batteries during “float” or standby mode.


Because of their energy density, lithium-ion batteries weigh less and have a significantly smaller footprint than VRLA batteries. Lithium-ion UPS units leave more room for IT equipment in racks and cabinets.

How that affects TCO: The larger size of the VRLA UPS occupies more valuable data center real estate and increases the labor required for installation.


Lithium-ion UPS units include a battery management system (BMS) that continuously monitors the system’s health and the state of the battery charge. As a result, lithium-ion batteries only need an annual torque check. VRLA UPS units typically do not include a BMS, so regular internal resistance checks must be performed. Also, torque checks must be conducted more frequently.

How that affects TCO: VRLA UPS units require significantly more maintenance and thus more IT staff time than lithium-ion UPS units.


A lithium-ion UPS costs more, but it includes a BMS. Adding a BMS to a VRLA UPS increases the cost by about 20 percent. Also, external battery packs may be required to match the capacity of the lithium-ion UPS.

How that affects TCO: When comparing apples to apples, VRLA UPS units aren’t that much cheaper than lithium-ion UPS units.


The Enconnex AC6000 Lithium-Ion UPS

The Enconnex AC6000 lithium-ion UPS delivers tremendous value to your data center operations. Learn more about how the AC6000 can reduce the TCO of your backup power here.


Posted by Enconnex Team on October 30, 2020

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