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Ocasio-Cortez offers long-shot plan to build electric-vehicle charging stations

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks about her green-energy plan last year.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks about her green-energy plan last year.
(Alex Wong / TNS)

The Democratic congresswoman who pushed the Green New Deal to prominence aims to build a national network of high-speed chargers for electric cars under legislation unveiled Thursday.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Andy Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said the bill — dubbed the EV Freedom Act — would establish a network of chargers along public highways within five years. The measure is unlikely to pass in an election year with Republicans controlling the Senate.

The bill doesn’t yet have any Republican backers and the potential cost hasn’t been calculated, Levin said during a news conference in Washington.

Tesla shares briefly surged after the plan was announced, rising as much as 8.3%, before retreating to close up 1.9% at $748.96.

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The bill, which would require the Energy and Transportation departments to develop the details of a charging network, faces long odds in becoming law, said analyst Pavel Molchanov at Raymond James Financial Inc.

As with other climate-related bills pushed by House Democrats, “there is no realistic prospect of this EV proposal getting anywhere in the current Senate,” Molchanov said. “While EV infrastructure expansion will certainly continue, it will be led by a combination of state-level policies and private-sector investments, rather than federal mandates.”

Levin, a former green-energy entrepreneur, said in an interview that the proposed legislation would be a blueprint should Democrats win the Senate and White House in the November election.

“We need to be able to act rapidly when we have full control of the House, Senate and White House,” Levin said.

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Ocasio-Cortez, whose progressive climate plan galvanized the debate over strategies to combat climate change, said the transportation industry must be transformed to reduce its reliance on carbon fuels.

The legislation “embodies the core principles of what the Green New Deal is all about,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters at the news conference, referring to her broad proposal for measures to shift the nation away from fossil fuels. It “opens the door for electric vehicles not to just be in the realm of the wealthy, but accessible to everybody.”


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