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Japan's battery startups take the world beyond lithium ion

New products can pack up to 10 times more energy than their powerful forebears

Commercial lithium-ion batteries like this one in an iPhone have taken us a long way since they were invented in the 1980s, but today's drones and electric vehicles demand more power and less size than the old technology can give us.   © Reuters

OSAKA -- What is the future of batteries? From smartphones to drones to electric cars, the current source of energy is the lithium-ion battery. But startups in Japan are battling to create high-performance power packs that could become the next global standard.

In the port city of Yokohama, a company's phone never stops ringing.

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