The age old conundrum. To get the new technologies to be affordable you need to sell a lot of them, but you can't sell a lot of them because they cost too much. Case in point, the Chevy Volt. The ONLY reason to buy one is if you want to "save the planet", because no matter how good the mileage is in the real world (debatable), you will never offset the difference in price between a Volt (35-40k) and a Civic or comparable car (20k) in gas savings. 15k will buy a LOT of fuel. Most people have interest in hybrids for the fuel savings, they aren't concerned about the planet. So why would they pay twice as much for a car? Hence the reason production on the Volt has been "suspended". Until the hybrid tech becomes affordable, they will never really take off. The Prius is the only one that I would consider a success. I still don't understand why they can't make a cool looking Prius.
The other thing that concerns me about electric cars (if they were to take off and become mainstream) is the fact that everyone would use more electricity at their home (obviously), but that creates more demand for electricity and the price goes up. So now you are paying more for the electricity that you were already using. The real kicker? A large amount of electricity is generated by using fossil fuels. So you are right back where you started.
I won't turn this into politics (please don't), but if our government wasn't so damn greedy and cared about the country instead of their bank accounts, we would have a lot of alternate energy. Look at the countries in Europe.
Just like you said, they need some real breakthroughs with solar panel efficiency. The battery tech is supposedly there, but depending on who you talk to, it is "not ready for the public" yet or the government is "buying up the tech and burying it so they can rape us for gas".