“Seems this guy just got mugged by reality...”
Hard to tell. It may be that he was acting dumb for effect...as most people are, like you say, dumb in these areas. He may be quite smart, but wanted to make a spectacle out of Tesla, which he certainly did, in any case - especially the part about the car locking up when its battery dies - that’s one ‘feature’ that they really, really, try to hide from people.
He didn’t make a spectacle out of the Tesla. The Tesla was quite capable of doing that itself.
Battery technology is still 10 years away from what they need right now. Obama seems to think that the the electric car is like the space program. But the basic science for space travel was available in 1920. So it boiled down to an engineering problem. Not so the electric car, which is why real advancement died on it about 1920.