The one thing I hear no discussion about is what this conversion of power from chemical fuels to electrical power is going to COST.
Electricity is not all that 'clean' at the moment, and the conversion of chemical/nuclear fuel to ele3ctricity, the transmission and storage are all lossy functions--each change loses efficiency.
Sure, generation can be made cleaner--but the industry's past and current record says that that will happen only if major changes happen in enforcement.
It's been years since it was proven that air quality in National Parks in the Rio Grande area is adversely affected by coal-fired plants in the Ohio river valley.
Law exists which says that any such effects permit the offending plants to be closed IMMEDIATELY...but they haven't been closed, and their upgrading to cleaner emissions has not been drastically accelerated.
Laws that are not or can not be enforced do no good.
Currently, our definitions of 'clean' seldom take into account birth-to-grave pollution--electricity is fairly cheap mainly because the costs of cleaning up the mining and transport operations and the proper disposal of waste after generation are not being paid by the users, and in many cases are being paid in the reduction of environmental quality i.e the lives of those who live near the mining, transport or generation areas.
The immediate effects of mass conversion of vehicles from chemical to electrical will be:
A spike in electricity prices, probably enough to eliminate the current cost advantage of electricity.
A large increase in obsolete vehicles, all mof which are loaded with toxins which require special treatment.
A bit later, a large increase in battery wastes, which also tend to require special treatment--and since the technology is rapidly changing, the processing methods will change too.
A large increase in the consumption of copper, much of which will probably come from the new Mongolian mine which China will be opening soon--a country not noted for 'clean' operations of any kind.
A large increase in rare earth's consumption for magnets, these materials aren't called 'rare' for no reason, and the bulk of the known deposits are in China.
Additionally, even w/o a mass conversion of existing vehicles, the developing world is rapidly increasing their demand for vehicles.
All of these factors imply that:
1) Vehicle prices will continue to outpace inflation.
2) Manufacturing waste will increase.
3) Power costs will rise.
4) Cost per mile will increase (unless the life-expectancy most vehicles increases--certainly possible, but only if people understand the difference between current cost and life-time costs...something Americans have been carefully avoiding in the market for decades. We cannot afford the costs of recycling vehicles every few years.
Our #1 need is energy, with sufficient energy we can accomplish nearly anything--pure water, clean air, clean transportation, etc.
None of the proposed or existing generation methods can provide energy on the scale required without environmental effects. Effects which are largely unknown and unpredicted by the developers of these technologies.
One windmill has a negligible effect on the environment--a million windmills will amplify those effects into the range where they become substantial and bothersome. If nothing else, extracting energy from the air or water will change the temperatures and flow patterns of either.
Solar cells also effect their environment, for starters, most solar cells require toxic chemicals and processes for manufacture, have not had recycling methods developed, change the reflectivity and heat absorption of their installation areas.
The most efficient way to use energy is in the form you find it. This means using solar energy first for light & heat (space/water,)--both of which are cheap to integrate into building design and have long life-expectancies, and can exceed 100% efficiency with the proper heat-exchange equipment.
Solar to electric is, while nearly an order of magnitude more efficient than 40 years ago, still far less efficient, and since it is usually reconverted to physical power or lighting, losses efficiency on the back end.
Until we discuss all of the life-time costs of these technologies, all comparisons we make are suspect at best.
As usual, the largest gains to be made involve not the use of new technologies, but the better use of current technologies. This means that buildings need to be designed as part of their surroundings designed to take maximum advantage of location, terrain, incident solar and wind energy (which is best used in HVAC rather than converted to electricity,)
A great first step is to reduce the area per person occupying, increase the density within buildings (multiple units require far more energy than combined units,) and increase insulation values to minimize required energy to maintain the desired environment. Part of this is social, as it truly requires us to go away from the 'I will build as large and inefficient as I can afford,' conspicuous waste for status.
Large changes of attitude are more likely if the rich and famous switch to being efficient and practical from the current, 'how much can I waste' lifestyles. A concerted effort on the part of these highly visible and emulated people to promote an compete based upon efficiency AND design as opposed to design with no consideration for efficiency would make a huge difference in the perceptions of the mass of the population.
Imagine if actors & actresses bragged about how efficient their houses were instead of how much they cost!
Of course, efficiency doesn't necessarily mean inexpensive or small or less beautiful--but emphasizing it gives ordinary people a way to compete on the same level as the rich and famous--my small house efficiency can be directly compared with any other size building on a square meter basis--which means an ordinary person can have bragging rights that their house is more efficient than some multimillionaire's.
And such a change in perception can be fairly easily implemented because the on ly change required is in what this small group of people talks to with the media. The public will follow along as long as they reprieve that it is important to their idols.
The electric vehicle industry already uses this methodology, but housing is still our #1 energy use.