Fears and disclaimers
Americans want eco-cars, however much a misnomer that is. A lot of existing infratructure has evolved over the last 100 years to accommodate and then necessitate the use of cars. An electric car is not necessarily the answer, whether it is charged from the mains or derived from fuels ranging from petrol to hydrogen. Putting that to one side, let's look at the electric car in general.
The fears over high-voltage batteries are largely unfounded. Let's face it, nobody seems very concerned about carrying gallons of highly flammable gasoline around in their petrol cars. Similarly, if hydrogen leaks, it doesn't create the same vapour risk as petrol - it burns gently with a blue flame. Rupture of a pressure cylinder containing hydrogen is much less likely than a regular fuel tank. Admittedly, the presence of high voltage is not obvious. However, if there's something wrong with the car's powerplant and transmission, it probably going to be simply loaded onto a transporter, not diagnosed at the roadside.
With any (recently) unproven technology there are bound to be some teething problems with control systems, the honesty about this has possibly not generated the best press. Telsa need to be absolutely confident in their product before handing them over otherwise their business will fail.
As for the rechargeability of laptop batteries, if you leave your laptop plugged into the charger all the time and rarely run it on batteries, it will quickly lose its capacity. I tend to run my three-year-old laptop down and recharge each day and it still lasts at least two hours. Similarly with the car - in fact, you cannot leave it plugged in whilst driving, so you are require to partly discharge it with each use!
The batteries will be the most expensive part of the car. Other electric vehicle start-ups like www.think.no are considering leasing the battery at a low rate (including insurance and a contract with countrywide breakdown services) rather than saddling the owner with the risk and cost. As for the idea that charging is inconvenient - you won't be spending 24/7 in the car, so charging overnight and keeping it topped up means that you won't ever need to visit a charmless filling station again!
From a bloke on a waiting list.