The history and progression of the lithium-ion battery and its critical role in modern technology.
LeVine (Putin’s Labyrinth: Spies, Murder, and the Dark Heart of the New Russia, 2008, etc.) examines the rechargeable battery market and the race among scientific developers to find the next consumer-changing breakthrough. His research centers primarily on development engineer Jeff Chamberlain and his work with the Argonne National Laboratory, an Illinois-based federal research center countering problematic industrial challenges with clean energy solutions. As lead engineer of Argonne’s Battery Department, the thrust of Chamberlain’s work has been the manufacturing of an electric car battery that addresses consumer concerns: safety and “performance in distance and acceleration.” With the aid of well-researched historical data and moderately accessible scientific detail, LeVine structures his narrative around those responsible for bringing the premise and the science behind the electric car “from the lab to the factory,” expanding the niche market of the product from a “social purchase” for “buyers wishing association with the green movement” to a product ushering in an electric age which “would puncture the demand for oil.” The author depicts Chamberlain, in addition to other battery scientists and solid-state physicists and Argonne technologists, as concurrently building and capitalizing from one another’s technology, and LeVine examines the intricate dynamics of geopolitics, internal conflict and fierce industry competitiveness with equal acuity. The narrative culminates with the dramatics behind Argonne’s bid to win the U.S. Department of Energy’s battery Hub competition. A suitable companion to the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006), LeVine has produced a readable resource on the forward-thinking advances and challenges facing newer advancements in modern automobile technology.
A book with built-in appeal to both scientific minds and those thinking about sustainable transportation options.