Plug-in car 

This week, the Brookings Institution and (the philanthropic effort that runs the Google Foundation) teamed up to run a two-day conference in Washington, D.C. exploring the future of plug-in vehicles (both hybrid and all-electric). Three issues were front and center:

  1. Can U.S. automakers actually deliver on this technology?
  2. Will American consumers buy these cars — and keep buying them if oil drops back down to $60 or $70 a barrel?
  3. Will Washington offer any incentives — to manufacturers of batteries, to developers of new battery technology, or to consumers?

The answer to all three questions: Maybe.

What made this conference top-notch was the scores of business and technology people discussing their work in this area. They were able to convey just how difficult it is to get all the right trade-offs in a new concept car.

A transcript of the event — sure to be worth a read — will be posted at the Brookings site.

(Photo by Flickr user jurvetson [CC])