Steven Levine:

HALIFAX, Canada—Over the last half-dozen years, a swarm of companies from around the world including General Motors has snapped up licenses for a lithium-ion electrode that promised to deliver the next big step in making electric cars competitive with conventional vehicles. The companies and outside researchers have worked feverishly to optimize the electrode, including an assault on a flaw that gravely undermined its performance.
 But in recent weeks, researchers working on the problem have gone public with a conclusion that the electrode, invented contemporaneously here at Dalhousie University and at Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago, won’t realize the hopes to bring alive a mass-market electric-car age. They say the problem is at the heart of the physics of the electrode, an amalgam of nickel, cobalt and manganese (NMC) that achieves remarkable capacity after a jolt of unusually high voltage, and does not seem fixable.

Via Paul Brody.