Summary of The Powerhouse

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8 Overall

8 Importance

8 Innovation

7 Style


In reporter Steve LeVine’s account of the nascent electric-vehicle industry, the perfect battery is as sought after as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The invention of a car battery that provides close to gasoline’s energy performance could spark an economic boom. With such a battery, electric vehicles could – by 2030 – grow into an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Scientists, governments and entrepreneurs worldwide are feverishly mixing new alloys, distributing grants and raising venture capital in a race to be the first with a viable battery that can dominate the electric-car market. LeVine follows the day-to-day struggles of researchers at America’s Argonne National Laboratory as they contend with the market, political pressures, espionage and the laws of physics. In economical prose, LeVine offers a fast-paced story with echoes of a political thriller – despite its dizzying hops across continents and an ambiguous chronology. getAbstract recommends this well-researched analysis to marketers, public officials, energy industry insiders and entrepreneurs navigating developing technology.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How a reliable battery will transform the electric-vehicle industry, 
  • What keeps current batteries from delivering the sustained power that vehicles need, and
  • How scientists and entrepreneurs conduct advanced battery research.

About the Author

Steve LeVine covers energy and technology issues for Quartz. He is a Future Tense fellow at the New American Federation and teaches at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.



The Pursuit of Power

Sometime during the first decade of the 21st century, governments, businesses and researchers around the globe realized that the world needed a certain kind of new battery. The ideal battery would require a technological breakthrough that would enable it to provide electric vehicles with power comparable to that generated by a gasoline-fueled internal-combustion engine. The pursuit of this technology turned into an international race. Whoever first reached the goal could rule the electric-vehicle battery market, which could become a $100 billion-a-year industry by 2030.

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