Research should focus on an efficient way to turn energy from a portable source into movement, and an efficient and clean way to produce portable energy sources. We will still be needing huge quantaties of hydrocarbons (read: crude oil, not refined into diesel or anything) for the production of plastics and other artificial materials.
(1) Yeah, yeah, flame away with your pro/contra global warming theories whatever you like. Fact of the matter is: Internal Combustion engines are not an efficient way to extract energy from an energy source. A lot of energy is transferred into heat, which is dissipated. I don't want to go into the global warming issue here, with a dominantly american crowd, but the carbon oxide emissions are a fact, and they're not benificial to the environment in any case.