Many cruisers have already made the jump to lithium batteries, some with good results and some not, and I have already written about how to make that decision in a rational way while filtering out the screaming from the fanboys on one side and the naysayers on the other, so we don't need to go there again.
But what if we have made the decision to stick with lead acid while we wait for lithium to get more reliable, easier to install and maintain, and less expensive? Pretty much always happens with comparatively new technology.
This is particularly worth thinking about since, although I'm neither a lithium fanboy nor a hater—I have come within a whisker of selecting lithium twice—there is little question in my mind that lithium will indeed become a no-brainer for most cruisers some time in the next five to ten years.
That is, if some other technology does not come along that renders lead and lithium obsolete, always a possibility, but my guess would be not a high probability one, at least not in that time frame.
So that begs the question: Can we future proof our boat electrical system for lithium?
That's a hard no:
I have spent much of my life in high technology, and while salespeople love to babble on about how future proof their product is, that's pretty much always rubbish.
Predicting the future direction of technology at the level of detail required to truly future proof anything is near-impossible, so best not to waste time worrying about it¹.
That said, if we are contemplating improvement to, or replacement of, a component in our lead-acid system anyway, it is worth thinking about how to do that in a way that has a probability of being lithium friendly.
Here are some ways to do just that:
¹Eric Klem started an excellent thread on just this in the comments to an earlier article.