Christopher Mims pointed me to this article by Jim Motavalli at the New York Times:
The advances were credited to the company’s proprietary cathode, anode and electrolyte materials, including manganese for the cathode. G.M. Ventures, in announcing its $7 million investment in Envia last year, noted that the company’s materials would “store more energy per unit of mass than current cathode materials.” Because the cathode was a “key driver” in the cost of a pack, the venture firm said, “the more energy the cathode delivers, the lower the battery cost because fewer cells are needed.”
As Mims puts it, “That’s right: Sometimes, when the government invests in innovation, it pays off moon launch-big.” If Envia is actually able to commercialize it along the lines they’re predicting, we’ll be seeing plenty of electric cars on the road sooner rather than later.