This topic probably needs it's own thread but I think we haven't been paying much attention to the electric car industry lately. By all accounts tesla is an incredibly impressive car, electric or not. Yes it is expensive and unaffordable for almost everyone. I get that. But relatively affordable electric cars do exist- the Nisan Leaf(s) of the world. Their problem is of course range, leaf goes 100 miles on a charge. For Simone like me who has a100 mile commute it's not a viable option. But if the battery capacity doubles in the next couple years, (tall order technologically, bit not impossible), then it becomes practical for a whole lot more people. And a Tesla with double the today's range will work for every long distance trip I can think of ( assuming that you do stop to eat at least once every 5-600 miles...) The basic electric motor is not that expensive and a lot if the costs is in the battery, so presumably by keeping the range at 100 miles and cutting the battery in half you can make a cheap commuter econobox. And the list can go on.
The discussion on longer term reliability got me thinking. I think I'd take an electric car long term every time iver a conventional car. There is not much to break in an electric motor, even after 10 years. No pistons to wear no oil to change. Batteries age slowly, reliably, and predictably, much better than getting stranded 30 miles from home when your alternator died or when your radiator hose blew up. The suspension, body and comfort electronics is the same in gas and electric so it's a wash...
It's interesting that a lot if Silicon Valley companies have rows of Leafs on their parking lots , and contrary to the stereotype these guys know how to count their money and are as frugal and rational as anyone who I know ( and they probably can do the math better than a large portion of the us population). Probably the major factor for them is still the ability to access carpool lanes in electric cars, but the point is that the electric car technology is more than just a Tesla.
Remember the first Prius? Tiny ugly underpowered joke of a car that was synonymous with a Berkeley liberal? I'd say Prius is squarely mainstream these days and not only in coastal regions. I drove one a year ago for a week, pretty impressive actually.
Again, note that there is no mention of greenhouse gas emissions in this post, I think it's a peripheral issue and that long term the electric car technology will win on its own merits. Trucking would probably never go electric, the difference in energy density between gas and batteries is still way too large, but for a lighter vehicle where the payload is a small portion of the overall mass, it makes perfect sense.