Charging ahead

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Media Outlet: The Economist

Mr Tillemann’s book is about the car guys, mostly those employed by the giant carmakers in America, China and Japan, and their titanic struggles to bring electric vehicles to the market (and, at one point, in the case of General Motors, trying to kill them). Yet it was Tesla, an upstart from Silicon Valley founded by the PayPal billionaire Elon Musk, that took the laurels by building electric cars that run rings around the others. Teslas use improved versions of industry-standard lithium-ion batteries, rather than any exotic concoctions put together by the battery guys. These players are running in a different but parallel global race described by Steve LeVine in “The Powerhouse” about the visionary attempts to develop a battery that would “save the world”. The world is still waiting.  

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Levi Tillemann was a New America fellow, and the author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future.