I may be off topic a bit here, but the bit in the article about the national media got me thinking about the EV radio commercials I've been hearing. What no one seems to be addressing is where the electricity will come from? Aren't we just trading one problem for another here? Feel free to set me straight...
You've got a good point. I'd agree that the biggest challenge is charging time, but range certainly ranks up there. Fast charging would offset some of the problems with limited range, but at some point, range becomes too short to be practical. That's where thos 4-5X batteries will come in handy - if we can shove that many electrons around fast enough.
Some of the promising new anode materials like silicon nanowires could make this an achievable goal by providing 4-5x the charge storage in the same battery volume.
The biggest challenge is not range, but charging time. Those future batteries with 4-5x the capacity will also require 4-5x the charging current to charge in the same amount of time as today's batteries -- and that charging time is already too long for EV purposes.
EV batteries won't have to exactly reach the range and energy density of a tank of gas, but they'll have to meet a few pretty hard requirements to be successful.
A good analogy might be the smart phone. Before smart phones, we might expect a week out of a single phone charge. With a smart phone, we have to live with charging every day. However, the increase in functionality made the trade off worthwhile (mostly).
An electric car will need to do a similar thing. It has to have a big enough benefit - something that liquid fuel cars don't have - to make the trade offs worthwhile. I don't see that on the horizon any time soon.
a 200 mile range is good for a commuter car. That's enough range to be able to make a daily 50 mile (total) commute without fear of running our of battery power. It's not realistic, however, in my opinion, for anything other than around town use.