So the federal government tried to will into existence a market where none existed before.
Well, that's not exactly true. There is a market for plug-in pure electric cars, just like there's a market for exotic Italian supercars or 15-passenger vans. And, similarly, you can't wave a magic wand and state that there will be one million Lamborghini Gallardos or Chevy Express 3500s on the road by 2015, and even the reality-insulated current administration has finally had to admit it.
While some people object to electric cars for religious reasons, like they may get excommunicated from their GOP church, I'm pretty agnostic about a car's power source: If it's reliable, reasonably priced, can burn rubber and pass things on the interstate, and can have its fuel tank refilled from empty in about five minutes, I don't care what goes in the tank. You can power it with gasoline or diesel or hydrogen or unicorn farts 'n' moonbeams for all I care.
And pure electrics just aren't there yet. Seriously, a car that could reliably get someone around town and be refilled in their garage every night will always have a niche among urban commuters as a second car, but until costs come down, ranges grow, and performance improves, electrics are going to be stuck in that tiny niche.