The constant increase in global energy demand, together with the awareness of the finite supply of fossil fuels, has brought about an imperious need to take advantage of renewable energy sources. At the same time, concern over CO(2) emissions and future rises in the cost of gasoline has boosted technological efforts to make hybrid and electric vehicles available to the general public. Energy storage is a vital issue to be addressed within this scenario, and batteries are certainly a key player. In this tutorial review, the most recent and significant scientific advances in the field of rechargeable batteries, whose performance is dependent on their underlying chemistry, are covered. In view of its utmost current significance and future prospects, special emphasis is given to progress in lithium-based technologies.