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Yes, the issue is the battery. And that technology is here. Ten minute recharge is here. The issue is at what point the technology will be cost-effective. The answer to that is mostly contigent upon economies of scale in production and upon the rate of rise of gas prices. Biased sources, but representatives of both companies competing to supply for the Volt believe that they are within a year. (see
"The goal of one year to functioning battery pack is approximate. He indicates GM is setting out a very aggressive time-line, but initial unit delivery for prototype vehicles could come out even in 6 months " - discussing the A123's interview.
"A very positive Mr. Klein indicated that he was “very confident” that a pack to GM standards will be produced. And although we’ve heard about a one year timeline to report back to GM, the real timeline may be much sooner. It is clear that GM and CPI are working very closely on a daily basis to help them engineer the system, on a very aggressive schedule, and our interviewees indicate that a working prototype can be expected by year end." - the CPI team

Is it posturing? I don't know but I don't think so and I don't think that Toyota or JCI are too far behind.

Clearly the transition to electric will be by way of PHEV, both for acceptance issues and for cost savings on the number of batteries required. 40 miles on battery only would mean that most commuters would very rarely use the ICE, recharging overnight at off-peak hours. No real need for any new electric infrastructure for anyone with their own garage. Longer, even cross country trips just function like any other HEV.

Apartment dwellers? Well they may be unlikely to be early adopters but as the vehicles become more the dominant form then several options emerge:
-Lockable outlets in lots with a cover that the cord can fit through and with a meter that gets charged (at some premium) to your rent. Running conduit hardly requires tearing up the lot.
-Fast charge available at gas stations or yes other locations for a premium as well.
-Employer provided charging considered as a part of your benefits in a secure lot.

BEVs? Those depend on getting battery costs more substantially down and having a range of more like 200 miles along with the capacity for rapid recharge available at least at interstate rest stops. It must be noted that the concept of providing the electricty for "free" in city centers is actually being tried in London for use with NEVs (like the G-Whiz). (see here- I doubt that that would take off big but the concept of municipal lots with electric car stalls that allow a discount charge as part of a push to encourage EV adoption by apartment dwellers? Sure. But that's farther away other than for those who can afford both an EV city and an out of city car or can afford a Tesla.

So again yes, the issue is the battery, the product is the battery, and the rapid growth will be in those new generation batteries. My assessment is that this market will begin to take off over the next two to three years and will grow much much faster than other renewable segments. And you all know how high PEs are for most wind and solar plays!

I see the earliest adoption likely to occur in China. In truth it is in a sense already happening there. See for a discussion of the forces driving the rapid move of Chinese into electric scooters (including both many cities banning gas powered scooters and economic growth allowing the move up from bicycles) and for CBAK's plans to meet those needs. China is faced with the prospect of rising oil expenses while they have ample coal reserves for electricity generation and a desire to demonstrate to the world their ability to lead both technologically and as a global citizen. They may even realize how bad global warming is likely to hit them and their coastal cities. They do realize their problem with pollution. And mandating behavior is a long entrenched governmental habit. PHEVs manufactured there seem likely, or even forbidding anything other than EVs inside cities.

And btw, in case any one takes the position that powering cars off the grid (be it PHEV or BEV) merely displaces the pollution and the carbon ... the simple fact is that electric motors are gobs more efficient than ICEs. The Tesla Roadster (capable of going 0-60 in 4 secs) gets 2.18Km/MJ compared to the Prius's 0.68Km/MJ. The Phoenix EV Sport Utility Truck gets 1.66Km/MJ. So powerful and big each deliver more miles per unit energy than even the best hybrid currently on the road. Even with all coal without any sequestation for power generation results in a fraction of the carbon than powering by ICE even with a Prius. And even better as renewables come on board in a bigger way.

PHEVs are the low fruit for decreased carbon emissions and greater energy independence. IMHO.
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