A method of operating an electrochemical cell is disclosed. The cell has an intermetallic negative electrode of Cu.sub.6-x M.sub.x Sn.sub.5, wherein x is .ltoreq.3 and M is one or more metals including Si and a positive electrode containing Li in which Li is shuttled between the positive electrode and the negative electrode during charge and discharge to form a lithiated intermetallic negative electrode during charge. The voltage of the electrochemical cell is controlled during the charge portion of the charge-discharge cycles so that the potential of the lithiated intermetallic negative electrode in the fully charged electrochemical cell is less than 0.2 V but greater than 0 V versus metallic lithium.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-31-109-ENG-38 between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and The University of Chicago representing Argonne National Laboratory.