The 1859 lead-acid rechargeable battery was an early commercial example of using a controlled chemical reaction to produce electricity. First improved in 1881 and continuously enhanced since, the lead-acid battery continues to be the dominant form of battery used in automobiles and trucks.
The nickel-cadmium rechargeable battery, made originally in 1899, was too expensive to compete commercially. Latest developments have focused on lithium. After a failed attempt to use lithium metal in the 1980s, lithium-ion batteries are commonplace, finding applications in cellular phones and laptop computers.