Ok I will explain more from a fuel saving point of view lets take a car like a Toyota Prius and compare that to something like a 2012 ford fiesta turbo diesel (not sure what they call then in the US). The Toyota P gives you 65mpg and the ford F gives you 75mpg. Why would I want to put up with all the disadvantages of the Toyota for no fuel saving's not to mention the ford at 22k locally is almost 1/2 the initial purchase price of the Toyota 40k locally and the Fords not a bad looking city hatch and the Toyota is dog ugly.
Even when it comes to carbon emissions the ford TDI is rated at 87g/km and the Prius is 89g/km. I just cant see the advantage in a hybrid.
Regarding driving 500miles to grandma's house. If my family live that far away (actually they live over 1000miles away) I would just fly to there house as its cheaper faster and safer then wasting a day in the car. We are talking 300mile range for some EV's now and its only going to get better.
The last time I drove more than 300 miles in one day was Easter last year on a camping tip. To be honest I would have been happy to drive 250miles then do another 200 miles the following day . I was on vacation and not in a hurry. When I am in a hurry it's going to work- dropping kids at school or driving some place within 100 miles or so to enjoy a nice leisure location on the weekend. Most working people don't have time to drive more than 300 miles Monday - Friday and then when its the weekend most people are not going on drives more then 150 miles from there home. Its really only driving vacations a few times a year where people do the big miles.
I guess It would be interesting to see the real numbers on how many people regularly need to travel more than 300 miles in a day and how often they do that. I feel it would only be a few times a year for most people.unless you are a delivery driver, taxi or live in way out in the country.
The Fiesta diesel is not sold in the US, where I am. There is a bit of controversy about why not. Also, the Euro drive cycle that determines mpg is different than the US cycle; the US cycle will return mpg numbers significantly lower. The 50 mpg I quoted for the Prius is based on my ride with a guy who owns one who had 750 miles on the trip odometer (probably weighted to highway miles so would be a bit higher probably) and it was showing an average mpg of 50 or so. Anyway, a minor point. Compared to a Fiesta diesel, a Prius is the mpg loser at any rate. The Prius is a pretty nice car, however, at least in the US. I would be curious to see a side by side comparison of a Prius and whatever a similar trim level Fiesta would sell for. Anyway, if mpg is the name of the game, the Fiesta would win. From a "which car looks better" point of view, well I don't care much about that. They are about equal there as far as I can see. While a diesel has a lower CO2 emission, it has a much higher particulate emission number. Which is worse? Depends if you have a problem with asthma or if you live on an ice berg.
In the US, diesel fuel sells for about $3.75 where I live. Unleaded gasoline is around $3.37. So the difference in mp$ is pretty insignificant. Very few families that I know personally would fly 300 miles instead of driving. A family of 4 would pay well north of a grand in airfare for that flight and there would be a lot of places that you would still have to drive at lease 100 miles after you flew to the closest major airport. And then you'd be renting a car. So anyway, let's call it 200 miles and split the difference. You still aren't going to be driving that in a battery electric with anything commercially available outside of California. The amazing ranges that Tesla is hawking are for ideal drive cycles, no AC/heat.
It is impressive compared to other electrics, but any gas car will do it with gas to spare for a fraction of the price. So on a dollar-to-dollar basis, gas vehicles are still at a very significant advantage. Diesels are even better, if particulates are not a problem for you. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see everyone in a battery electric. I just don't think it will happen anytime in the next 15 years. In my opinion, plug-in and standard hybrids and other high mileage standard fuel vehicles are going to fill in for quite a while. I could be wrong of course. Just ask my wife!