Many of you out there are pretty knowledgeable about the batteries used in today's hybrids and electric cars. I am not. Sure, I've read thousands, nay, million of words about them. I can even recognize the scientific names of the more common chemistries such as LiFePO4 which stands for lithium, iron and potatoes. Ok, so I don't quite have the chemistry thing quite nailed down. Luckily for me, and people like me, there are articles being written that not only help us understand how these things work but also give a historical perspective and a heads up about what people are working on now.

One such essay has just appeared in The Economist, a somewhat opinionated but respected British weekly, under the title, "In search of the perfect battery." In their quarterly report on technology, the Economist breaks down, in language even I can understand, how a modern lithium cell works (and why some explode). The history of li-ion is discussed as well as the state of the present quest for the holy battery grail. I recommend you give it a read so you, too, can know your anodes from your potatoes.

[Source: The Economist]

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