The automotive industry’s transition to electric vehicles is ushering in a tidal wave of demand for batteries that’s upending national industrial policies, reshaping geopolitics and sparking a surge of new factories that will pump out billions of cells.

It may seem like the sector has exploded overnight, but founders, investors and multinationals have been laying the groundwork for this transition over the past decade.

In that time, for example, venture capitalists and private equity firms have invested over $40 billion into battery technology startups, and some of those investments are now coming to fruition.

Just like powerful, fast-charging cells facilitated the mobile electronics revolution of the last 20 years, ever more plentiful batteries stand to reshape everything from job site generators and wearable electronics to the entire electrical grid. That’s probably just the start.

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