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The Zoe is a 3000 pound car with an 75 hp motor, it is not programmed for "ludicrous" mode, it is designed for range.
I don't know about fierce competition, there are very few companies with the image processing, real time computing and sub micron technologies.
I worked in Image Processing with VAX and accelerators, it is VERY compute intensive to do real time.
Zoe is so efficient, it does not need a huge pack to get range.
Farmers can take all the residue if they plant a cover crop like clover used for animals. It allows early planting where residue use to block the sunlight on cold ground.
OXIS has sulfur batteries with high energy density OR more cycles, but not both yet.
For news on biofuels, I suggest:
Efficiency and bio synthetic fuels can reduce oil consumption.
Bio synthetic gasoline can reduce our use of fossil fuels.
Farmers have found they can take all the stover off the field if they plant a cover crop.
"In 2015, Volkswagen Group acquired Ballard’s automotive fuel cell patent portfolio, resulting in the transfer of the automotive-related portion of fuel cell IP assets Ballard previously acquired from United Technologies Corporation" I don't think they would have bought the patents if they were "behind" in technology.
Distillers Dried Grain goes to feed live stock after ethanol is made. Using corn stalks and cobs produces ethanol, four cellulose ethanol plants in the mid west have been doing this for years.
EPRI in the U.S. says we have enough night time power capacity for one million cars.
Efficiency would be low, a six cycle rotary would be better.
With a fuel cell range extender, the vehicle does not need a large battery pack.
Being in customer's hands could be Beta testing, not full production.
"..Volkswagen intending to deliver the first units to customers in 2017." That is the way, walk the talk.
As a small bus many cities could have more routes serving more people to more places they want to go with less pollution.
They could use SOFCs with turbine after burners in locomotives. Liquid fuel could be preformed, the efficiency would be better than diesel.
e-Crafter electric van CONCEPT As soon as Audi/VW actually builds it people will listen.
It seems like ships, trains and trucks could be good candidates for fuel cells, especially reforming liquid fuel on board.
With fuel cell locomotives and electric propulsion/braking on cars, trains could become more efficient and safer.
If you read his biography you see he was granted a lot of power, obviously someone in authority believed in him. Towards the end of his career the navy wanted to get rid of him, obviously they did not share that awesome confidence, This is not the forum to discuss this, it was mentioned in the context of nuclear light water reactors. His decisions over ruled many in the nuclear science community who actually knew what they were talking about.
I have a problem with the people who believed Rickover could do no wrong, who thought he was right all the time. "Rickover's legendary achievements were in the past. His present viselike grip on much of the navy was doing it much harm."