Batteries included: the Tesla Gigafactory under construction in Nevada, November 2014
James Glover II / Courtesy Reuters

The plunge in oil prices that began in mid-2014 has been relentless. It has pushed a clutch of oil-exporting nations into deficit spending, hobbled Russia’s ambitions, and altered the calculus behind Iran’s nuclear program. It has also given an opportune boost to the U.S. economy and other petroleum-consuming countries. No other force on earth packs such latent capacity to move events. Apart from one, that is: batteries.

When it comes to energy, new technologies can upend the status quo almost overnight, surprising everyone. And just as the shale revolution, unleashed by fracking, has largely triggered the current

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