mattnyc99 writes: Honda's challenger to the Prius—the Insight hybrid that we discussed so lividly a month ago—got its official unveiling today at the Paris auto show, with insiders confirming it would be cheaper than the world's most popular "green" car while still hitting the same fuel-efficiency range. But the hybrid-electric showdown comes in the midst of a sudden rethink by Toyota about plug-in hybrids. Apparently all the recent hype—over the production version of the Chevy Volt, plus Chrysler's new electric trio and even the cool new Pininfarina EV also unveiled today—has execs from the world's number one automaker, and alt-fuel experts, questioning how many people will really buy electric cars, whether people will really charge them at night to keep the grid clear, whether batteries will make them too expensive and more. From the article: "At $100-a-barrel oil, people really like the idea of driving on electric power," says Michael Brylawski, one of the environmental reality-check gurus at the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), "but a number of challenges remain before these things can make a difference. Early adopters will have problems similar to beta-test computer software users and early cellphone users, but they're still going to love it. For mainstream consumers--the ones who come along in 2015 or 2016--by then these problems will be figured out and scaled up."
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