DOE: Obama EV Goal Is Possible (If You Believe The Hype)

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

In an apparent response to a report detailing the challenges facing President Obama’s goal of getting a million plug-in vehicles on the road, the DOE has released its own report [in PDF here] arguing that the goal is, in fact, achievable. The main thrust of the argument is encapsulated in the table above,

Reaching the goal is not likely to be constrained by production capacity. Major vehicle manufacturers have announced (or been the subject of media reports) that indicate a cumulative electric drive vehicle manufacturing capacity of over 1.2 million vehicles through 2015.

Ipso-freaking-facto. Done deal, right? Er, no. After all, GM has not confirmed that it will try to build 120k Volts starting next year. In fact, the Bloomberg story cited by the DOE actually says

GM now is working with suppliers to raise 2012 capacity from an earlier target of 60,000. It may not build that many if parts aren’t available or demand isn’t strong enough… Randy Fox, a GM spokesman, declined to comment on production plans. He said he didn’t know how many people have ordered a Volt or how long they will have to wait.

But hey, that sounds good enough for, well, government work. What with Obama’s policy apparently relying on the Volt to make up about half of the volume of plug-ins needed to meet his million-by-2015 goal and all. Meanwhile, Fisker has delayed production of its first car already, and has no in-house manufacturing experience, making its leap from 0-50k units over the next two years more than a little improbable. As for the prospect of Think’s City EV (proud recipient of NHTSA’s first EV recall) selling 20k units considering it’s starting pricing at $34k-$40k (for a tiny, 100-mile-range BEV), well, we wouldn’t bank on it. EV production numbers have consistently been optimistic, and are continually being revised (typically downward). Using them as evidence of the attainability of a political goal seems like a recipe for a one-way trip to “ the trough of disappointment.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Gator marco Gator marco on Feb 09, 2011

    I suppose if someone put out a press release that the Chinese were going to buy the Grand Canyon for a billion-gazillion dollars and move it to Beijing by 2015, that would be enough for the gubmint to declare all our money troubles to be over.

  • Charly Charly on Feb 09, 2011

    I miss the Miev and it would be a surprise if the prius didn't go plugin so the goal does sounds more than reachable

  • William I feel very sorry for those who attempt to use an attack on a product as a way to deprecate an individual whose politics they disagree with. They delude themselves and mislead others.
  • Arthur Dailey Have to admit that I love that interior colour. And also like the upholstery on the seats and the inside of the door panels. And when was the last time you saw a door hanging coffee cup holder? Some here probably didn't know that such a device existed.
  • Buickman this is about cars. I miss Robert.
  • 28-Cars-Later Can we end debt slavery next? Its getting to the point where its no longer voluntary.
  • Carson D Honda and Toyota still make the best American cars.