A lithium- or lithium-ion electrochemical cell of the present invention comprises a lithium-containing cathode, an anode, and a non-aqueous lithium-containing electrolyte therebetween; wherein one or more of the anode and the cathode comprises at least one particulate carbon-containing material selected from the group consisting of one or more carbon-coated metal oxide or metal phosphate particles, carbon-containing metals that alloy with Li, carbon-containing metalloids that alloy with Li, or rounded carbon particles such as carbon spheres, prolate-shaped spheroids, oblate-shaped spheroids, and carbon nanotubes. In a preferred embodiment, the particulate carbon material is prepared by reacting one or more solid, solvent-free chemical precursor materials comprising the elements making up the material in an enclosed autogenic pressure reactor in which the precursor materials are dissociated and reacted at elevated temperature, thereby creating self-generated pressure within the reactor.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
 The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357 between the United States Government and UChicago Argonne, LLC representing Argonne National Laboratory.