Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Bottled Lightning Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy by Seth Fletcher
This is a history of batteries which make the electric car possible. Seth Fletcher describes the invention of the battery from its beginnings to modern lithium-ion batteries. It is about more than cars, because lithium batteries were first used in computers and cell phones before they were used in cars.
The book is very much a pro electric car book focused on the benefits of electric cars. He enthusiastically describes the Chevrolet Volt, the Nissan Leaf, and the Tesla Roadster as the hope for our future. His focus is not on hybrid electric cars, but on cars that are purely run by batteries.
I very much enjoyed reading about the lithium mines in Chile and Bolivia. The largest lithium reserves are in Bolivia. Seth Fletcher describes his visits to the mines.
There is an excellent reminder that ultimately lithium ion batteries are about more than cars. Large power plants are starting to use giant lithium ion batteries as back up power storage. This will grow with the increased use of wind and solar power.
This book is worth reading if you are interested in alternative energy or automobiles. It is more of a story about batteries than just cars.