High capacity silicon based anode active materials are described for lithium ion batteries. These materials are shown to be effective in combination with high capacity lithium rich cathode active materials. Supplemental lithium is shown to improve the cycling performance and reduce irreversible capacity loss for at least certain silicon based active materials. In particular silicon based active materials can be formed in composites with electrically conductive coatings, such as pyrolytic carbon coatings or metal coatings, and composites can also be formed with other electrically conductive carbon components, such as carbon nanofibers and carbon nanoparticles. Additional alloys with silicon are explored.
 Development of the inventions described herein was at least partially funded with government support through U.S. Department of Energy grant ARPA-E-DE-AR0000034, and the U.S. government has certain rights in the inventions.