I am fascinated with the technology of electrified vehicles, whether hybrids or plug-ins. The auto industry's emerging technologies bring to mind the situation 100 years ago when electrics, steam and gasoline fought for supremacy. Back then, gasoline won out.
Today we have a new competition.
By the way, let's not ignore diesel power, a simpler, proven system for cars and trucks that is hugely successful all over the world, except in the United States.
As with any new technology, there are some teething problems such as the Chevy Volt is having with its battery pack. It shouldn't be considered anything but a minor glitch.
Many EVs are likely to have other problems that also will be addressed and fixed.
When you think of all the new, relatively untested technology that is going into the Volt and other EVs, it should be no surprise that there are problems.
Electrified vehicles will be an important part of powerplant technology, and because they are full of new gadgetry, we know there will be problems. Take a look at the software on some Ford products if you think everything will be perfect when it's launched. It doesn't work that way.
Proponents of EVs will ask you to ignore the problems. That won't happen.
Detractors of EVs will tell you the sky is falling and you might as well write off the vehicles' potential.
Both groups are wrong.
EVs will have a place in the retail industry, although probably far smaller than the proponents want. EVs will help car companies meet pending corporate average fuel economy standards, but in the near term they will not be a significant segment. They are innovative, and their share will grow slowly but surely.
And, as with all new technologies, they will have minor problems that require fixes.
But the problem with the Chevy Volt should not dampen anyone's enthusiasm for electric vehicles. All new technology needs a shakeout period.
General Motors will fix the problem, and the Volt will continue to be a technological tour de force.