Walter Russell Mead has some interesting advice for those (and he's looking at you, Thomas Friedman) who think the US is making a horrible mistake by falling behind China in the development of electric cars: Ignore the problem. That's right, let China do the heavy lifting (and spending) on this, and when its engineers perfect the electric auto, we can just piggy-back off them, he writes in the American Interest.
Among his points: Detroit's been making inferior cars for years, so why would anyone think they're going to suddenly outshine foreign makers on electric models? Also, if electric cars do come on the market, oil exporters will have to slash prices. "Americans will be swooping over the interstates as our gas prices fall," writes Mead. "The Arabs and the Venezuelans will be begging us to take that black gooey stuff off their hands. SUV sales will boom; since this is about the only car Detroit can make profitably, the US car industry will enjoy another respite from its long decline." He admits it's a cynical strategy, but he says it's also a practical one.