Battery performance characteristics for automotive power applications can be described in terms of two parameters, specific power and specific energy. Specific power is related to the speed of vehicles and acceleration. Specific energy is related to range. Using these two variables, data are presented graphically for a number of commercially available battery systems and battery systems in development. Included are lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, silver-zinc, metal-air, organic electrolyte, sodium-sulfur, and fused-salt electrolyte batteries.The performance characteristics are related to automotive driving requirements for speed and range by an overlay on the graph of battery characteristics. This overlay shows that, for a given range, specific energy requirements for driving increase with speed, while the energy available from batteries decrease.The applicability of commercially available battery systems and the status and technical problems of new battery systems are discussed.