Steve Levine: The Powerhouse Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World



Eing present for that next big development Instead he worked with what he had which was a snapshot of battery development at a particular moment of time I was left feeling appreciative of the strength of our national labs and a little ducated on battery chemistry but it wasn t the page turner that I Mystery at Kittiwake Bay expected The big picture context didn t come in until Part III where Levine briefly addresses global oil markets and what batteries would have to do to compete Too much about the personalities involved was hoping for science Also Elon Musk should probably get than the few paragraphs he gets here Very little scientific value but somewhat interesting from anconomic perspectiveHaving some Dangerous Waters (Cold Case Files experience in battery research myself I was mainly incredible disappointed in this book The book s subtitle makes it seem like it is relevant to the history of battery development as a whole but its contents barely mention any researchffort from outside the US More specifically the book almost solely describes battery development at National Laboratory Argonne and at start up company Envia The author gives no The Husband (Smytheshire, Massachusetts, explanation for this choice of subjectIn my opinion it s unforgivable to put the role of John Goodenough in a short chapter to mention Sony in half a sentence and to completely omit the history of non rechargeable batteries and non lithium based rechargeable batteries This just shows that the writer did little technical researchFrom a businesseconomic perspective it was interesting to read about a tech startup outside IT and outside Silicon Valley butven then I would not consider it a very good bookAnd finally not taking into account the contents of the book the writing isuite boring Nick Bilton s book Hatching Twitter proved that it is possible to write amazing books about technology and business in the 21st century Disclosure My company TalinoEV sells lithium ion battery powered motorcycles called tricycles bajaj or tuktuks to the South East Asian market Steve Levine s book The Powerhouse is an ye opener for a number of reasons most of which augur well for the United States role in the world s use of this technology Firstly author Steve LeVine posits that the lithium ion battery sits as the transistor s ual in terms of social and An Italian Education economic conseuence Not to mention pure ubiuity inventions without which the lives of the majority of the world s population would be utterly differentThat got my attention After all the transistor is what made silicon valley Silicon Valley It was anye opener also in that I did not fully realize that large form lithium ion batteries for transportation use is such a very recent phenomenonWhile lithium ion in small form has been used since 1991 for Sony video cameras and then subseuently in the arly 20. LeVine was granted unprecedented access to a secret federal laboratory outside Chicago where a group of geniuses is trying to solve this next monumental task of physics But these scientists almost all foreign born are not alone With so much at stake researchers in Japan South Korea and China are in the same pursuit The drama intensifies when a Silicon Valley start up lic.

This is a great book that delves into the arly history of how our batteries came about It has a good bit of corporate Look-Alike Lawman (Texas Twins, espionage as well What I m getting at are Chinese scientists coming to America seeing what we re doing then going back to China to do it on a bigger scale for lessThere s lots of competition between these scientists and hardly any are American the closer we get to today And wow these scientists have biggosI read about half of this book before losing interest That s not to say it s a bad book or bad topic it s just that you kind of get all you need to in the first several chapters Crushingly disappointedThis is an attempt at a Michael Lewis style behind the scenes But without Lewis s skill at Daddy Wanted extracting interesting personality traits or motivation there s nothing hereAnndless series of play by play descriptions of board meetings and product pitches which spoiler go nowhere No history of battery technology or infrastructure No scientific description of how batteries actually workOnly a series of big promises that didn t pan out Like this book uite poorly written but the topic is kind of interesting Book provides a glimpse of the greed wishful thinking and bhit behind the hype about batteries in this case Hype is out of proportion relative to actual progress and likelihood of progress My neighbor had given me this book with the promise You ll love it I really didn t believe him but it only took a few pages for me to start wondering if he might be correct This is a non fiction account of the Forbidden Stranger effort and race to build the next generation of battery technology that would power thelectric car for a nation that wants a transportation system that will include a large proportion of all Snowy River Man electric vehicles over the next several years The author Steve Levine gained access to some of the leading research facilities in the US and assembled Fantastic nonfiction work on the development of a new higherfficiency battery that could be used for cleaner Night Moves (Harlequin Blaze energy I had no idea this was such a logjam for companies and the research detail in this book was interesting and understandableven for a non scientist like myself Parts of the story read almost like fiction due to the larger than life personalities of many of the researchers involved It was interesting Les brumes d'avalon : roman enough to read in one sittingI received this book as part of the good reads giveaway but the opinions are my own As a fan of Steve Levine s The Oil and the Glory I wasxcited for his take on battery development There are few oil market disrupters with potential than a safe affordable high uality battery for Malakai (Wicked Games, electric cars coming on the market The book shows ample commitment to the subject Levine spent several years at Argonne National Lab but he didn t luck out on A Soul of a New Machine for our time a gripping account of invention commerce and duplicity in the age of technologyA worldwide race is on to perfect the nextngine of The Carpenters Wife and Heart of Stone economic growth the advanced lithium ion battery It will power thelectric car relieve global warming and catapult the winner into a new Celtic Fire (Rogue Angel, era ofconomic and political mastery Can the United States winSteve.

00s for laptops and then in the mid 2000s for smart phones it was only in the 2011 Chevy Volt that the large form lithium ion battery was used for transportation according to the bookThere is a lot of hand wringing about whether the 200 mile distance threshold can be reached for developed country vehicles And this is where much of Argonne labs massive research is being devoted However from what I see on the ground and to The Family Plan echo Clayton Christensen s theory of disruption much of what lithium ionven in larger form batteries A Family Practice eg 40 Ah can do right now is goodnough Christensen talked about how incumbent companies ignore new technologies that don t serve the needs of their customers or fit within their A Doctor in Her Stocking (From Here to Maternity existing business models That fits the GM described in the book to a T However as the new technology whichxcels on completely different attributes than the incumbent s product continues to mature it ventually takes over the marketThe hand wringing to me is akin to asking if a particular brush can paint the side of an aircraft carrier Of course this developed country problem will reuire large specialized technology However to carry the analogy further in large swaths of the world another brush a toothbrush has been performing its job perfectly up down up down day in and day out It is the perfect tool for its use short haul uick on demand bursts of use In South East Asia the main market for lithium ion batteries is the same market that has given Uber its multi tens of billions of dollars of valuation it is the short haul on demand point to point daily use in dense urban settings reuiring 3 6 km trips that is perfectly suited for Goodenough s lithium ion battery inventionThe answer to how to pay for the cost of the lithium ion battery is also in South East Asia and how data plans are consumed in pre paypay per use increments It is called sachet sized billing and it is uniuely the opposite of Costco sized developed country selling By breaking sales sizes down in granularity most anyone of the two or three billion rising global middle class can buy and profitably use a lithium ion battery that is good nough to last 60 km or 10 money making trips on a tuk tukThe technology to harness these granular payments in conjunction with good For Better and Worse enough lithium ion batteries are available today IoT bitcoinblockchain cloud SAAS switching are are often very strongly US technology A TEDx talk by Jeff Chamberlain a prominent character in The Powerhouse talks about thisnergy Manhattan Project changing Cassidys Kids (Maitland Maternity, everything I now have a better perspective on why thanks to this book Eh An okay story It was cool to understand all of the players but it felt like it was a long article that was stretched into a bookIf you re really into batteries you might like it. Enses the federal laboratory’s signature invention with the aim of a blockbuster sale to the world’s biggest carmakers The Powerhouse is a real time two year thrilling account of big invention big commercialization and big deception Itxposes the layers of competition and ambition aspiration and disappointment behind this great turning point in the history of technolo.

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