> move through cities
> cities populated with these vehicles
This article seems to be forgetting how many people don't live in cities.
> For long distance trips, inclement weather, or for the elderly or disabled, of course cars will still play a role.
In the part of the US I live in, about about 4 continuous months of the year could easily be described as "inclement weather" and many of my coworker's daily commutes would qualify as "long distance trips" (with no mass-transit alternatives). A more traditional vehicle is not an option, it's a requirement, and electric vehicles seem like the most intimidate route to meeting that requirement while reducing the environmental impact.
While I think focusing on alternatives to cars in urban areas is a great idea, and has potentially massive benefits beyond even the obvious environmental impact, any long-term view of the automotive industry has to take into consideration the needs of the roughly 50% of the population that doesn't live in urban centers.
A environment designed and built to make car-ownership a requirement (your word) has massive ecological and sociological downsides, and we should be doing what we can to shift away from it.
"Cities" don't necessarily mean "densely-packed sardine cans where people conduct their entire lives within a 2 mile radius of home".
That percentage is quite inflated though because they're using the legal definition of "city." Where I live just recently incorporated and is now a "city" but that doesn't mean people aren't still commuting 20+ miles to work in the winter.
That being said, I could easily imagine 40%-50% of people living in dense urban areas either now or in the near future, but there are always going to be a significant portion of people who don't. Given that, the article's premise that the future of transportation is just "personal electric vehicles like e-bikes, scooters, or micro-cars" makes little sense, even if these can replace traditional cars in dense urban settings, there are still going to be a huge number of people who will need a more traditional sized/styled vehicle. That being the case, traditionally sized electric (or other non-fossil fuel) vehicles (such as Teslas) need to be part of the future of transportation if we want to reduce the overall negative impacts we have on the environment.
I would also disagree that there are more "sociological downsides" to living outside of dense urban environments (there are pros and cons to each), but that feels like an entirely separate debate. =]