Commercial lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries built with nickel- and cobalt-based intercalation-type cathodes suffer from low specific energy, high toxicity and high cost. Further increase in the energy storage characteristics of such cells is challenging because capacities of such intercalation compounds approach their theoretical values and further increase in their maximum voltage induces serious safety concerns. Conversion-type cathode materials as well as conversion and alloying-type anode materials are some of the key candidates for the next-generation of rechargeable Li and Li-ion batteries. Continuous rapid progress in various performance improvements of such electrodes is essential for their use in future applications. In our lab we are conducting fundamental studies of the interactions of conversion-type active materials with various electrolyte components and additionally exploring various approaches to overcome the known shortcomings observed in conversion-type electrodes, such as high voltage hysteresis, slow kinetics and fast degradation.