It seems pretty clear to me this is the future:
- Electricity is a much cheaper and cleaner energy source for vehicles than fuel burned in an engine.
- We have a very wide variety of renewable and non-renewable sources we can use to generate electricity.
- We have a large existing infrastructure for distributing electricity.
- Very good electric and hybrid cars are already in production. (Check out the Tesla Roadster. This is a thorougly sweet set of all-electric wheels that goes for only $120k. Reserve yours today!)
- Oil prices stay high or increase. At the current price of oil, there are huge economic incentives for firms to make mass-market electric car technology work. Indeed, it appears all the major auto companies are racing in this direction.
- Oil prices fall dramatically. Even if oil gets really unprecedentedly cheap, it's never going to be cheaper to burn it in your engine than in a power plant. Electric car technology will continue to progress in an environment of cheap oil, as it has for the last three decades--it just won't be emerging as fast as it appears to be now.