Current charging speeds are far from that: The fastest and most expensive chargers can bring an EV battery up to around 80% in less than an hour. The second-fastest and most common charger does the same thing over the course of several hours and is most frequently used by EV drivers overnight.
Experts say ready access to both types of chargers, placed in locations that fit easily into people's lives, would be needed to prompt widespread EV adoption.
"It's not about waiting for markets, because it's not necessarily in anybody's economic interest to provide that charging capacity right now. But it can unleash the automakers ... to sell all those EVs if we provide high-speed chargers throughout the national highway system," Levin said. The goal, he said, is to push down prices and make EVs more accessible to low- and middle-income consumers.
"Getting to mass production is everything, and this is exactly the role of public policy."
As Levin and Ocasio-Cortez announced their plan, their House colleagues in an Energy and Commerce subcommittee were discussing another multi-billion-dollar effort to spur electric vehicle adoption.
The CLEAN Future Act, congressional Democrats' marquee climate bill, would set a national target for 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and a net-zero emission economy by 2050.
It includes billions to be spent over the next 10 years to spur the electrification of U.S. transportation, including $100 million annually on electric vehicle charging equipment, $96 million annually for charging equipment in underserved communities, and $4.5 billion annually for other electrification projects.
It would also appropriate $2.5 billion annually to accelerate EV part manufacturing (including batteries) and would set minimum requirements for electric vehicles in the federal fleet.
That's going too far too fast, Republicans on the committee argued.