We introduce a novel design of carbon-silicon core-shell nanowires for high power and long life lithium battery electrodes. Amorphous silicon was coated onto carbon nanofibers to form a core-shell structure and the resulted core-shell nanowires showed great performance as anode material. Since carbon has a much smaller capacity compared to silicon, the carbon core experiences less structural stress or damage during lithium cycling and can function as a mechanical support and an efficient electron conducting pathway. These nanowires have a high charge storage capacity of ∼2000 mAh/g and good cycling life. They also have a high Coulmbic efficiency of 90% for the first cycle and 98-99.6% for the following cycles. A full cell composed of LiCoO2 cathode and carbon-silicon core-shell nanowire anode is also demonstrated. Significantly, using these core-shell nanowires we have obtained high mass loading and an area capacity of ∼4 mAh/cm2, which is comparable to commercial battery values. © 2009 American Chemical Society.