To me, the European market regulations and the US market regulations have it exactly backwards.
Europe, in general, is a place where you can have one car, and that car can be designed for city/urban/suburban driving (i.e. electric). That's possible because of excellent public transportation, and distances between cities that are shorter, relative to the US. Drive the electric on a daily basis, then take longer trips on public transport. The focus in Europe should have been on electrics all along, but it was on Diesels.
In the US, an electric-only vehicle only makes sense for those who live in an urban/suburban area, and never leave. Given our lousy public transportation infrastructure and longer distances between cities, electrics only make sense for a very small portion of the population. Cars end up being daily drivers AND weekend getaway tools. The focus should have been on Diesels all along, but now it's on electrics.
That's not even accounting for temperature impacts on battery life. Add that in, and electrics make sense largely only in coastal cities from the mid-Atlantic, stretching around the coasts and warmer areas to Seattle. Problem is, in many of those crowded areas (particularly here in California), housing costs force a lot of people into long commutes...not good for electrics. Public transport being lousy, those people then drive to work in whatever they can afford.
My personal situation is a little different...if I could work where I lived, an electric would make a heck of a lot of sense, IF I never left the area. I looked hard at a Bolt (and Volt), but it made no sense for me and my 225 mile round-trip daily commute. The Bolt wouldn't get me home from work, having a realistic range of 150-170 miles on the highway. A Volt would run on electricity for less than 1/4 of my daily drive, then I'd have a car getting 38 mpg, so the overall fueling costs make no sense, especially when paired with a high initial purchase price. I had a Prius, and it was great around town...better than the Jetta TDI. Smooth, quiet, and very efficient once the gas engine warmed up. But on the highway, it wasn't so great, and that's where I drove it all the time, every single day. The switch to the TDI was a no-brainer for me...low purchase price (it was a buyback car), great warranty, great fuel economy (although not quite as good as the Prius), and a MUCH better car for highway driving.
I've been doing a lot of reading on fuels over the past few months, and I think that renewable Diesel is very promising (specifically, fuels like Propel Diesel HPR), and could be the way that allow Diesels to continue to exist, especially in California. Less soot, which means fewer regens and longer DPF life, and lower NOx emissions, requiring less urea. But that's only if renewables that are compatible with DPF/Urea systems and high pressure fuel pumps & injectors can expand more broadly than their current market areas.
I'm hopeful that Diesel emissions tech will continue to improve, but I think that has to be paired with moving away from dino fuels and into renewables. So I'm glad to hear VW is talking about Diesels again.
Having said all that, I need to take a break from the internet and go pump some dead dinosaurs into my tank so I can get to work for the next couple days. Cheers!