The Obama administration has dumped an electric truckload of money on car and battery companies, with hopes they'll develop technology that'll make plug-powered cars suitable for the mainstream. As you can imagine, this is way bigger than just cars.
Batteries have been a bottleneck in consumer electronics for years now, and it's getting ridiculous. Think back ten years ago: you probably couldn't have imagined all the wild stuff you can do with 2009's smartphones, but you definitely wouldn't have guessed that their batteries would last less than two days. It doesn't make sense, and it's slowing things down—imagine what our gadgets could do if manufacturers didn't have to spend so much of their engineering efforts of reducing power consumption.
The problem is, truly new battery technologies require huge institutional investments, the likes of which most companies aren't able—or willing—to make. As Wired explains, we've been stuck for years, but maybe, just maybe, this 2.4-billion dollars will somehow transmute into a breakthrough battery technology that'll trickle down to our gadgets, rendering out DC adapters obsolete once and for all. Or, it'll just sink into some kind of giant corporate money hole, and we'll just have to charge our iPhone 5GS Nanos six times a day. We'll see! [WSJ]