Top positive review
23 people found this helpful
Good story - well researched
on June 6, 2011
This book is a readable monograph - sort of like an extended essay about the history, current state, and potential future of lithium batteries in electric cars. It fits into the category of books that educate you about a particular subject by providing background facts, details, references, and interviews and then weaving them together into an interesting narrative. So, as a first read, this book seems to be a good book for understanding the concerns about and the future for batteries in electric cars.
To judge the value of a this type of book, the first thing that I do is look at the reference section to see how extensive and diverse are the supporting materials. Mr. Fletcher has 17 pages of references, which is a good basis for a well-supported argument and essay of 215 pages (this number excludes counting the pages for the references, bibliography, and index). The one downside is that the references are not noted within the body of the text; each reference lists the page that it supports, which makes the reading easier but the checking of the facts, if you really want to do so, a bit more cumbersome.
The next thing that I check is the index. This book has 18 pages of index - indicating a good, thorough effort. The bibliography appears reasonable in length, breadth, and historical depth, as well.
The third criterion for judging such a book is the breadth and depth of the interviews conducted with primary players in a field. The material from interviews is a strength of this book - good, inciseful interviews of people in both the industry and the research arenas.
Finally, I judge a book by how well written and edited the text is. Clearly Mr. Fletcher is a fine author who writes a good narrative that can keep your interest. The only niggle that I had was that he tended to overuse the word "spike" when referring to a peak or major transition; a minor criticism at most.
"Bottled Lightning" is a good book, well researched, and well written. It provides a fine overview of the state of lithium batteries in automobiles. If you work in or near the fields of vehicular technology or power storage and distribution, this is a fine book to read and keep on your bookshelf for later reference.
(P.S. I wrote this review before reading the previous reviews so as to avoid any bias in my writing. I hope that I did not overlap the other reviews too much!)