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Tesla is an empire, and CEO Elon Musk is the driving force behind it, but not everyone is on board with his ideas. But TV personality Jay Leno, a friend for quite some time, has always backed Musk no matter what innovation he brought to the table. Whether it be a Tesla with lightning-fast acceleration or the roadster he sent into space, Musk knows no boundaries. 

Leno bought himself a Tesla in 2015, and the reason isn’t what you might think. Why did he want the Tesla? Well, it had nothing to do with it being an environmentally friendly vehicle, CNBC reports.

Which Tesla models has Jay Leno driven?

TV personality Jay Leno poses for a portrait at the NBCUniversal Summer Press Day in 2015 in Beverly Hills
TV personality Jay Leno has a sizable car collection | Christopher Polk/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Though Leno owns a Model S, it isn’t the only Tesla EV he’s had the chance to drive. He’s tested two other Tesla models, and both were on his show Jay Leno’s Garage. The first was the highly anticipated Cybertruck, which he showed off with his friend Elon Musk

The electric truck’s design impressed Leno even though it looks nothing like a typical pickup. Now, modern trucks’ styling seems more out-of-date than anything, Leno explained. But the Cybertruck’s angular design was intentional, said Tesla’s design head, Franz Von Holzhausen, who came up with the style. Tesla’s designers didn’t want the truck to resemble a traditional pickup at all. 

The other Tesla that Leno got his hands on was the Model Y, which he also showcased on his series, but this time without Musk. This compact SUV didn’t disappoint Leno — it had the power and speed he expected. He even demonstrated how much trunk space the EV offers. All he had to do was crawl inside to show there’s more than enough room for nearly anything you want to haul. 

Why did Jay Leno buy a Tesla in 2015?

Leno has admitted he buys vehicles for their uniqueness and the story behind them. Though some consumers buy Tesla EVs to prevent pollution, that isn’t what sold the TV personality on this electric vehicle. The feature that drew him to the Tesla Model S in 2015 was this four-door sedan’s incredible speed. It didn’t disappoint him either. 

He shared that he likes to have fun with some of his vehicles, too. So on weekends, he pulls out his 1960 Triumph TR3 roadster and takes it out on the open road. But during the week, he needed a daily driver in Los Angeles traffic. 

So he opted for an EV, saving save money on gas and avoiding polluting the air. He only needs to worry about charging it, except it’s not much of a concern because Tesla charging stations abound in LA. The purchase has been worthwhile — since he bought his Model S in 2015, Leno hasn’t had to do anything to it, no repairs, nothing. 

His thoughts on Tesla and Elon Musk


How Did Jay Leno Become Obsessed With Cars?

Musk has displayed some questionable behavior over the years, and it’s turned many people off. But Leno isn’t one of them. He has always thought highly of Musk, especially regarding Tesla. Leno said Musk is a smart businessman because he built not only Tesla but also an entire network to support it.

Musk came up with a super-network of charging stations that he grew to include several hundred locations. Fancy European EVs can’t compete with that, and neither can most American models. But many are trying by partnering with other charging infrastructures

Of course, Tesla isn’t the only Musk creation that impresses Leno. The entrepreneur’s SpaceX, which is said to cost about 1/10th of what the U.S. government spends on its space program, is another way Musk is paving the way for innovation. “That’s the way private industry is supposed to go — cheaper, faster, more efficient,” Leno stated. 

Tesla has come a long way in the EV industry, and it doesn’t look like it will slow anytime soon, thanks to Musk’s out-of-the-box thinking. There will probably always be critics who question his methods, but Musk will likely have a supporter in Leno for a long time to come.