The selection and assembly of materials are central issues in the development of smaller, more flexible batteries. Cobalt oxide has shown excellent electrochemical cycling properties and is thus under consideration as an electrode for advanced lithium batteries. We used viruses to synthesize and assemble nanowires of cobalt oxide at room temperature. By incorporating gold-binding peptides into the filament coat, we formed hybrid gold-cobalt oxide wires that improved battery capacity. Combining virus-templated synthesis at the peptide level and methods for controlling two-dimensional assembly of viruses on polyelectrolyte multilayers provides a systematic platform for integrating these nanomaterials to form thin, flexible lithium ion batteries.