Have a look at this MIT special report on Better Batteries.
MIT lists Donald Sadoway's Liquid Battery as one of the 10 technologies that can change the way we live.
MIT researchers have managed to dramatically reduce the time it takes to recharge lithium ion batteries. GM-Volt.com gave the story the title a 100-Fold Lithium-ion Battery Breakthrough.
One of the problems with many batteries is that they gradually lose their charge over time. Tests by A123 indicate that their batteries can keep working for a decade or longer. On their site, you can find a chart like the one below:
In early 2008, CNET reported how researchers used silicon nanowires to give rechargeable lithium ion batteries a tenfold improvement in battery life. The study can be found at Nature.
Battery provider Southern California Edison (SCE) has demonstrated a lithium ion battery with a lifespan of more than 180,000 miles. Since the average family car travels about 10,000 to 15,000 miles each year, the battery could last a decade before it needed replacing.
In earlier articles, I have also written about the Altairnano Nanosafe battery, which has a life expectancy of 12+ years, and can retain up to 85% charge capacity after 15,000 charges. With a 3 phase power supply, it can be recharged in about 10 minutes. Altairnano has demonstrated that a NanoSafe cell can be charged to over 80% charge capacity in about one minute.
New Scientist wrote about this more than four years ago in an article called Charge a battery in just six minutes. Here are also some technical details, from a Altairnano presentation dating back to 2006.