Li-ion battery technology has become very important in recent years as these batteries show great promise as power sources that can lead us to the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. The development of new materials for Li-ion batteries is the focus of research in prominent groups in the field of materials science throughout the world. Li-ion batteries can be considered to be the most impressive success story of modern electrochemistry in the last two decades. They power most of today's portable devices, and seem to overcome the psychological barriers against the use of such high energy density devices on a larger scale for more demanding applications, such as EV. Since this field is advancing rapidly and attracting an increasing number of researchers, it is important to provide current and timely updates of this constantly changing technology. In this review, we describe the key aspects of Li-ion batteries: the basic science behind their operation, the most relevant components, anodes, cathodes, electrolyte solutions, as well as important future directions for R&D of advanced Li-ion batteries for demanding use, such as EV and load-leveling applications.