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Podcast: How the Lithium-Ion Battery Accelerated Electric Cars

Author Charles Murray unearths the twists and turns in perfecting battery technology powering the shift to electric vehicles.
Chuck Murray
Chuck Murray

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By George Leopold

The initial reaction from the publishing world to Charles Murray’s proposed history of the lithium-ion battery was, well, low voltage.

That changed in 2019 when John B. Goodenough, the German-born American physicist won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (shared with M. Stanley Whittingham and Akiro Yoshino) for development of a lithium battery with a cobalt oxide cathode. “Storing electrical energy in batteries is a key factor in solving the world’s energy supply,” the Nobel Committee noted.

Murray had interviewed Goodenough. His access, Goodenough’s acclaim, and the veteran technology journalist’s thorough understanding of his subject earned Murray a book contract. The result is Long Hard Road: The Lithium-Ion Battery and the Electric Car.

Not only has the author chronicled the roller-coaster development of battery technology, he has also made the connection between energy storage development and the ascendance of the electric vehicle.

Listen here to our podcast with author Charles Murray.

Our conversation with Charles Murray, an edited transcript based on this podcast, is also available here.

George Leopold is executive editor of The Ojo-Yoshida Report. He can be reached at

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