The biggest performance gains in the near-term optimisation of lithium ion batteries are likely to arise from changing the chemistry of the cathode. There are significant scientific and commercial challenges to achieving better cathode design, discovering new materials and developing a deeper understanding of the scientific field. And there are multiple ways in which research into this field could be approached. If commercialised, the improvements in battery lifetime, range and cost would be significant to EV owners and could potentially accelerate the rate of uptake of EVs. Speed of discovery in this area is particularly important – researchers around the globe are racing towards breakthroughs that could be commercialised by their country’s industrial base. Because the potential research scope and the prizes for success are so large and the need to make breakthroughs is so acute, the Faraday Institution is funding two project consortia in the area of next-generation Li-ion cathode materials.