Going green and driving electric are quickly gaining popularity, but that hasn’t always been the case. Celebrities are often trailblazers who begin setting the pop culture trends that become the current rage. George Clooney was instrumental in helping electric cars go from a rare oddity to a popular choice. He was one of the first celebrities to drive an EV, and his choice of vehicles may surprise you.
Electric cars have been around longer than you think
We’ve been driving gasoline-powered vehicles for so long it’s easy to assume that’s the way it’s always been. First came the horse, then the buggy, then the gasoline-powered car, and then the EV. Except that’s not actually the case.
The Department of Energy reports that electric cars are over a hundred years old. It all began in the 1800s when a series of inventors, automakers, and even a blacksmith all decided electric was the way to go. Progress was being made in Hungary, the Netherlands, and the U.S.
The French and the English were the first to make an electric car that functioned well enough to drive in the second half of the 19th century. America then began to produce electric vehicles in 1890. William Morrison, a chemist from Des Moines, Iowa, is credited for making an electric car that could go about 14 mph.
By 1900, people were hailing electric taxis, and one-third of the vehicles on the road were electric. EVs were trendy choices amongst women.
However, things took a turn for the worse when the Model T came along. It may have been smellier, exhumed more pollution, and a pain to drive, but it was cheap and widely available. That helped to bring about the end of the EV until just a few years ago when George Clooney decided to give one a spin.
George Clooney’s first EV was an oddity
Just as we believe that electric cars are relatively new, many of us also assume Tesla started the EV revolution. And while it did, one of the original companies that took significant steps toward renewing interest in EVs was known as Commuter Cars.
In 2005, Clooney decided to purchase the Tango T600, which officially made him the first celebrity to go full-on green. Auto Evolution reports that he was spotted driving around in it.
This should have inspired others to purchase the Tango T600, but that wasn’t quite the case. While Clooney doubtless helped start the EV revolution, no one was rushing out to buy the Tango T600, and here’s why.
This isn’t the type of car you want to meet your date in
To increase sales, Commuter Cars referred to the Tango as “a chick magnet.” That’s a little hard to imagine considering it’s so tiny, there’s barely enough room for a driver. If you had a date and couldn’t find something besides the Tango to drive, you’d probably have to place your date on the roof.
That’s because the Tango was only 39 inches wide. That doesn’t leave much room for a battery, so that was placed under the floorboard.
Other sales pitches included “crashworthiness better than any production car.” Another claim was that the Tango could go from 0 to 60 in “about four seconds.”
Although there is undoubtedly a market for tiny cars, not even Clooney could make the Tango happen. This had a lot to do with the price. A kit costs approximately $100,000. Add in the size, and the Tango didn’t get enough dance partners to go into production, despite a great deal of advertising on the part of Commuter Cars.