On Political Books

November/ December 2011 Assault on Battery

The promising, frustrating, indispensable race by government and industry to revolutionize the storage of electricity.

By Eric D. Isaacs

Just as importantly, Fletcher understands that leading the world in energy storage technology is also a matter of national pride. Now-retired GM executive Robert Lutz, one of the book’s main characters, makes that point explicit: the Chevy Volt “is where GM can finally demonstrate to the world that, when it comes to advanced propulsion technology, nobody else in the world can lay a glove on us.”

Looking ahead, I hope Seth Fletcher and his colleagues on the energy beat will continue to beat the drum for battery R&D, and will keep on working to inform the American public about the potential for lithium technologies to create new jobs, recharge our nation’s manufacturing base, and help us build a new, secure, green energy economy. As Fletcher concludes, “If the budding American energy-storage industry fails … it would be a tremendous lost opportunity, a failure to participate in what promises to be one of the greatest industries of the coming century.”


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Eric D. Isaacs is the director of the Argonne National Laboratory and professor of physics in the James Franck Institute at the Univeristy of Chicago.