plug in car chevy volt - plug in carsPresident Obama wants to put a million plug-in cars on the road by 2015, which will be a tall order. Indiana University recently released a fairly skeptical report, concluding, "The production intentions of automakers are currently insufficient to meet the 2015 goal, and even the current plans for production volumes may not be met."

Obama was having none of that, of course. The Department of Energy fired back with a note of confidence, adding up those same "production intentions" quite differently. According to the DOE, the goal is in sight. But its chart shows numbers that even the auto companies aren't projecting, especially 120,000 Chevrolet Volts by 2012.Tony Posawatz, the Volt's line director, refused to confirm that number to me, which the DOE admitted was from "media reports." Luckily, the media never report anything wrong.

Another real stretch is the 75,000 Fisker Nina plug-in hybrids by 2014. Fisker has yet to deliver the Karma, which is the model before the Nina. And 20,000 Tesla Model S cars by 2014? That's Tesla's dream.

Automakers throw all kinds of numbers out there -- wouldn't you, in their position? But let's keep our feet on the ground here. Real sales are always less than dream sales.

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