A Soul of the New Machine for our time, a gripping account of invention, commerce, and duplicity in the age of technology
A worldwide race is on to perfect the next engine of economic growth, the advanced lithium-ion battery. It will power the electric car, relieve global warming, and catapult the winner into a new era of economic and political mastery. Can the United States win?
Steve 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 licenses 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. It exposes the layers of competition and ambition, aspiration and disappointment behind this great turning point in the history of technology.
©2015 Steve LeVine (P)2015 Penguin Audio
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This is a very detailed story of the scientists, car companies, government programs, and venture capitalists, involved in the development of the battery of the future. This tries to do quite a lot and may be too detailed for many readers. I understand those that feel it was boring. It covers the stories of battery development, the process of vying for a big government projects, the greed and maneuvering of venture capital funded startup companies, and how EV’s might affect the environment and the oil industry. Although this was not an easy listen, I learned a lot and enjoyed the various storylines. Overall I was very satisfied with this book. The one thing was unsatisfying is the story ends abruptly with the battery of the future still in flux. The narration was very good, dealing with the technical detail very well.
Great mix of science and narrative, so long as you are interested in battery technology. Not much discussion of Elon Musk or Tesla at all, in case that is a reason you're considering this book.
I was very intrigued by this book but I feel kind of let down by the rather abrupt inconclusive ending. Maybe in ten or fifteen years we can get the sequel.
This is an amazing peak inside the battery world, the National Labs, DOE/Washington and international business. What becomes apparent immediately is that scientific investigation is really hard but dealing with the human foibles of ego, self-interest, bureaucracy, territoriality, and endless political games is even harder and more unpredictable. Plumbing reality for the laws of Nature is the easier task. How did we ever advance as far as we have????
I live in Seattle. I write code. I listen when I'm out with the dog.
it was a bit tough to get through. the story is interesting, but perhaps not worth a book.
I really enjoyed the behind the scenes to this most important tech race. Highly recommended. I hope for a followup in a few years.
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