One of the challenges for improving the performance of lithium ion batteries to meet increasingly demanding requirements for energy storage is the development of suitable cathode materials. Cathode materials must be able to accept and release lithium ions repeatedly (for recharging) and quickly (for high current). Transition metal oxides based on the α-NaFeO 2, spinel and olivine structures have shown promise, but improvements are needed to reduce cost and extend effective lifetime. In this paper, recent developments in cathode materials for lithium ion batteries are reviewed. This includes comparison of the performance characteristics of the promising cathode materials and approaches for improving their performances.