An ion transporting solvent maintains very low vapor pressure, contains flame retarding elements, and is nontoxic. The solvent in combination with common battery electrolyte salts can be used to replace the current carbonate electrolyte solution, creating a safer battery. It can also be used in combination with polymer gels or solid polymer electrolytes to produce polymer batteries with enhanced conductivity characteristics. The solvents may comprise a class of cyclic and acyclic low molecular weight phosphazenes compounds, comprising repeating phosphorus and nitrogen units forming a core backbone and ion-carrying pendent groups bound to the phosphorus. In preferred embodiments, the cyclic phosphazene comprises at least 3 phosphorus and nitrogen units, and the pendent groups are polyethers, polythioethers, polyether/polythioethers or any combination thereof, and/or other groups preferably comprising other atoms from Group 6B of the periodic table of elements.