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Obama Administration Remains [Too] Optimistic On 1-Million Green Vehicle Goal

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On: Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 6:57PM | By: Chris Weiss

Obama Administration Remains [Too] Optimistic On 1-Million Green Vehicle Goal

Wow, it must be fun to be a math expert. Because then you just get to ignore real numbers altogether and put out your own "expert" opinions based on nothing.

Just look at the math guys in the Obama adminstration. Back in 2008, President Obama made a campaign pledge to put a million electric vehicles and hybrids on the road by 2015. And like many a campaign pledge, it was catchy, sounded like a worthy goal, but as of a few years later, it isn't actually happening here in the real world. But, that's where the numbers guys come in! Now that we're halfway there, and anyone who's not in the administration is casting big doubts on the goal, the Energy Department has released some numbers that seem to defy reality. Not only is the auto industry on track to put a million green cars on the road by 2015, they're going to beat the original goal with 1.2 million or more!

The report sums it up: "Indeed, leading vehicle manufacturers already have plans for cumulative U.S. production capacity of more than 1.2 million electric vehicles by 2015, according to news reports and public announcements". Only problem is, someone forgot to tell those "leading vehicle manufacturers".

Chevy plans to produce 45,000 Volts in 2012, and the Energy Department's numbers have Chevy producing 120,000—nearly three times its plans. And since the 1.2-million estimate is relying on Chevy to account for nearly half of those cars by 2015, that's kind of a major flaw.

Meanwhile, the administration's estimate is counting on 300,000 Leaf vehicles from Nissan. That number accounts for 25,000 this year. Of course, last week Brian Carolin, vice president for sales and marketing for Nissan in North America, said that Nissan wouldn't even be selling 20,000 Leafs this year.
So why the disconnect between the government's numbers and the numbers from the companies actually producing the cars? Well, obviously the government has politics to think about, and there is that pesky election coming up next year. Voters don't really likes big promises and no results. And then there's the fact that instead of official numbers, the government got creative. Many of the government's predictions are based on media reports and even blog posts. In fact, if you look through the reference list, you'll see very few documents from actual manufacturers.

I didn't realize that the government could get a way with sourcing unverified blog posts--that's one to grow on.

When you consider that the people that don't have anything to gain politically are calling the one-million-vehicle goal "undoable," it looks like the government is really shoveling it on. But Obama will be reelected (or not) by the time we know for sure, so I guess the numbers guys have done their job for now.
If you want a funny read, take a look at the full document: http://www.energy.gov/media/1_Million_Electric_Vehicle_Report_Final.pdf.


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