There are a number of roadblocks between the gasoline- fueled present and the electrified future. The big ones, such as developing batteries that can survive years of charging and not cost a fortune, are fairly well known.
For start-ups, raising enough money to keep going can be hard, as Phoenix Motorcars of Ontario discovered. The company's plans to begin producing an electric pickup in late 2007 were pushed back several times, suppliers sued and, late last month, Phoenix filed for bankruptcy protection.
Smaller hurdles also abound.
In the case of the Mini E, BMW discovered that although its range was lab-tested at 156 miles per charge, real-world driving put it closer to 100. Installing a 240-volt charger in every driver's garage also proved tricky, since many of the houses didn't have sufficient capacity to support the load.
Then there was the plug, almost an afterthought. It turned out that certifying the cable connecting car to charger -- a minor but necessary bit of red tape -- took so long that it delayed the Mini E rollout by more than two months.