There are serious safety issues posed by using what amounts to a digital computer input going high for "turning the car on and off." How engineers could justify making a choice like that, I'm not sure. But it's not the direction I would have gone.
In this case, say there was a design flaw which made some sensor boxes partially short out, just enough to shift the accelerator pedal range from 0-100 to 80-100 say. In that case, the central computer would be receiving believable signals that the pedal was pressed down, even though the driver was doing nothing.
Extremely unlikely. Since the throttle position sensor is nothing more than a potentiometer, it's always "partially short[ed] out." Potentiometers fail in the zero and infinite ohm positions, either of which would throw a fault in the ECM for the resistance being out of range.
Home electric car conversions require nothing of the sort, but most that build their own electric cars install them for safety. Just like those who build their own gasoline cars, everyone has their own kill switch. That doesn't mean the general public will use them with any greater frequency than they use the ignition switch to shut the engine off in an emergency.
On the contrary, I believe installing a large red mushroom operator in plain sight of the driver would induce a feeling of paranoia, to the point where they would hate to drive the car. IMHO, it would not be a positive selling point.
security researchers detect stuxnet_two_the_revenge out there and it has infected numerous machines, but not yet hit it's intended target.
I think the scrutiny required of finding a virus before it blows its wad into major systems would be overwhelming. No one would know what they were looking for until it was too late. I think the better way to prevent that scenario is to have a "clean room" approach - any computer that gets attached to critical infrastructure at any point in its lifetime cannot face any other network whatsoever. It would help isolate problems before they got out of control, and it would help eliminate sloppy human errors.
Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to make a fucking battery from bare minerals?
Lead acid? I would bet it costs less than 10% of the price of a new battery. Anything more and it wouldn't be profitable. Obviously it's profitable, you can by all types and sizes on a shelf at Wal-Mart. In case you didn't browse that section today, that's around $6.
Other chemistries are new, and have R&D costs to go with them. Suppliers are few. Raw materials come from other countries. They're inherently more expensive... this year. Just like with any emerging technology (like the flat-screen TV you park your ass in front of every day), the price will come down as supply and competition increases.
Quantity is no substitute for quality, but its the only one we've got.