Where will your average American run into electric vehicles first? Will their buddy swing by to show off a Tesla Motors sports car? Not likely, unless they run in pretty elite circles.
Will they be driving their very own GM electric car? Maybe -- if they wait for 2011 and are involved in GM's fleet testing. How about a Ford? More likely, because Ford has just promised to mass-produce a battery-electric Ford Focus for 2011.
But here's another option: public transportation. Because of scale and long-term use, the government can often break into these new technologies first. (Another good example is in government buildings -- because governments aren't building something to be sold in the next three to five years, they can put things like solar panels, xeriscaping and other green measures, which sometimes pay for themselves over slightly longer periods of time.)
Behold, the 21 MPG electric Alterra city bus: