We can't solve the complex of issues around petroleum use -- oil wars, climate change, pollution, economic and political corruption -- without finding a replacement for oil-fired Internal Combustion ("IC") vehicles.
Existing Nickel-Metal Hydride ("NiMH") batteries power current Toyota RAV4-EV plug-in Electric cars more than 100 miles on a charge almost 7 years after the last NiMH battery they require was produced.
Hundreds of Toyota RAV4-EV, which Toyota sold up until Nov., 2002, are powered by rooftop solar systems in California, Colorado, Arizona, New York and many other places, proving that long-lasting and useful Electric cars are practical and proven right now.
Moreover, even a modest solar electric rooftop system can power these existing Electric cars, paying off the solar system cost with money saved by not buying gasoline and solving their fuel issue. Driving 1000 miles per month in these existing Electric cars only requires about the same amount of electric used by two old refrigerators.
NiMH is used on all successful hybrids, and on all successful plug-in cars with battery packs lasting more than 100,000 miles. So far, none of the more expensive Lithium packs have lasted as long as the cheaper and safer NiMH.
Perhaps Lithium will someday work, and research is a good thing; but billions of Taxpayer dollars to "jump start" Lithium is not needed for production of Electric cars and plug-ins.
Since Chevron Oil acquired control of NiMH on Oct. 10, 2000, there have been no licenses for NiMH batteries for plug-in cars. Chevron only allowed NiMH for hybrids that can't plug in, forcing auto makers to try to use much more expensive and unproven Lithium.
Chevron recently sold control of NiMH, which should allow production of real Electric cars to resume.
Government pressure is needed to force auto makers to resume production of large-format NiMH batteris used in real Electric cars, now that Chevron has disgorged control of the batteries.
The only thing stopping real plug-in cars, and an industry of making and recycling long-lasting NiMH batteries, is lack of leadership in the auto industry. Past failures must not stop the government from forcing auto makers to resume production of Electric cars.