The Jay Leno Daily Driver Reveal: Commuting In An Electric Vehicle For A Decade

The most famous car collector in the world is Jay Leno. Comedian and retired Tonight Show host, Jay Leno, owns 286 vehicles all-told. He is the patron saint of quirky, seemingly unlovable examples of the internal combustion engine. He has also restored some of the largest gas-guzzlers ever made. Recently, he revealed the Jay Leno daily driver. You may be surprised to learn Jay Leno has been daily driving electric vehicles for a decade.

Jay Leno bought a 2011 Chevy Volt For his daily driver

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15:  In this handout photo provided by General Moters, Comedian, Tonight Show Host and auto enthusiast Jay Leno greets the audience after steering his personal Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle - with over 10,000 electric miles driven - into an event at the J Lounge November 15, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  Leno said he has almost 10,500 miles driven and only 88 are not electric.  (Photo by Dan MacMedan/Chevrolet News Photo via Getty Images) This was once the Jay Leno daily driver.
Jay Leno and his Chevrolet Volt | Dan MacMedan/Chevrolet News/Getty Images

After ordering a Chevy Volt, Jay Leno took delivery of his hybrid on December 12th, 2010. The little plug-in hybrid offered a forty-mile electric range before its gasoline motor had to kick in. But, here’s the rub, Leno rarely drove forty miles in a day.

Every day of 2011, the Tonight Show Host drove from his home in Burbank to his studio. Many days he stopped by the garage where he keeps his car collection. He figured his daily driving averaged thirty-five miles.

In November 2011, Leno told the New York Times that the Chevy Volt was his daily driver. He revealed that he had yet to burn through a tank of gas. Chevrolet had delivered the car with a full 9.3-gallon tank; Leno figured, “I’ve used less than half of it.”

Though Leno collects antiques, he can appreciate modern innovation. He said he was happy with his Chevy Volt, especially the interior and integrated technology. Leno concluded, “It’s a real breakthrough.” The experience sold him on an electric car. But as times changed, Leno sought an upgrade.

Leno upgraded to a 2015 Tesla Model S P90D

When Jay Leno finally decided to upgrade his Chevy Volt, he bought a Tesla Model S from his local dealer in Burbank. He ordered his Tesla loaded with a range upgrade, lifetime supercharging, autopilot, smart air suspension, and the “Ludicrous” speed upgrade.

Leno admitted that his Tesla cost a lot upfront–$140,200 total–but cost him nearly nothing in maintenance for six years. He pointed out that it needed no fluid changes or dealer maintenance. He added that even brakes last a long time because the Tesla uses regenerative braking to slow down. Leno even researched the best way to care for a car battery and kept his Tesla charged to between 80% and 90% of its capacity. 

Jay Leno stands in one of his 3 car storage facilities with a 1931 Straight 8 Bentley he owns and a 2004 Bentley S2 which he roadtested for an Englsih Newspaper. American Television personality Jay Leno who host's the late night NBC "Tonight Show" collects cars. In 3 warehouses in a secure complex on the edge of Burbank airport he has over 100 cars, all insured, all in working order. The collection includes Bentleys, Bugatti's, McClaren, Cadillac, Hispano Suiza, Lamborgini, Morgans, Jaguars, there is also a collection of over 75 working motorcycles from the early 1920"s to a modern day Jet Bike. Photos Paul Harris, PacificCoastNews.com. The Jay Leno daily driver is a Tesla.
Jay Leno in his garage | Paul Harris, Pacific Coast News/Getty Images

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The high-speed Ludicrous mode featured 762 available horsepower for a zero to 60 mph time of 2.8 seconds. Leno gloated, “You just press Ludicrous mode and–BOOM–you’re there.”

Leno upgraded to 21″ wheels and a premium interior. He was happy with the craftsmanship of his Tesla. He experienced “no creaks or rattles or any of that kind of stuff” in a half-decade of ownership. Overall he said, “I’m impressed.” He has become a vocal champion of the startup, Jay Leno is the best friend Tesla could ask for.

When Doug Demuro visited Leno’s garage, he reported that the TV star was indeed daily driving the Model S. Leno put just 23,000 miles on his Tesla. In 2021, Jay Leno sold his Tesla Model S to make room for another electric vehicle upgrade.

Leno set a world record in the 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 

In 2021, Jay Leno upgraded to a 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid. He ordered his new Model S in the same midnight blue as his 2015 car; from the outside, you might not even know he had upgraded. But from the driver’s seat, the change is be obvious.

The 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid is rated at 1,020 horsepower with a zero to 60 mph time of 2.01 seconds. During a test drive, Leno attempted to set the production car quarter-mile record. He was able to lay down an incredible time of 9.247 seconds. As a result, Jay Leno set a 1/4-mile world record in the Model S Plaid.

After a decade of electric car daily drivers, Jay Leno is a convert. But when asked if he thought everyone would be lining up for an electric daily driver he said, “It takes a while for people to come around.”

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