Hybrids & Electrics

Wait, Jay Leno Loves Teslas?

Electric cars account for only 2% of new car sales. That doesn’t mean they don’t have some pretty outspoken supporters. One Tesla fan, in particular, is Jay Leno, a former star of the Tonight Show and host of Jay Leno’s Garage on NBC. Leno, 69, has owned a Tesla for more than three years. In an interview with CNBC, he claims they could someday overtake gasoline-powered vehicles to become the norm rather than the exception. What’s behind Leno’s support for the Tesla, and could electric cars actually wedge out gas vehicles? We’ll take a look at those and other questions below.

Reasons for his support

One reason for Leno’s excitement over his Tesla has to do with maintenance. During the time he has owned one, the comedian boasts that he has never had to perform routine maintenance such as changing fluids. That’s because, with the Tesla, there aren’t any fluids. Leno cites this as a major advantage to owning an electric car over a gas-powered one.

He acknowledges that new technology can’t just be equal to its competition, but instead has to be an improvement on it. According to Leno, new upgrades to the Tesla have resulted in longer battery life and faster engine. These enhancements have solved many of the problems that have kept people from wanting to purchase a Tesla in the first place. With these issues eliminated, Leno says there is virtually no reason to have a gas vehicle “unless you’re doing long-haul duty.”

Applauding the American dream

Another reason Leno loves his Tesla has more to do with how the car is built than with the vehicle itself. In an interview with CNBC in 2016, he lauded the fact that Tesla was being successful so far despite facing stiff competition.

He also recognized that not everyone was rooting for Tesla’s success, and openly wondered why others would want them to fail. Leno stated that “Here’s a guy building an American car in America using American labor and paying them a union wage.” He seemed confused that people would want to see the company fail rather than hoping it became widely popular. “Why are you not rooting for it to be successful?” he asked. “I don’t understand that,” he further lamented.

Leno may consider Tesla’s achievements as a product of American innovation, much like the internal combustion engine was during its inception. He believes that electric cars may someday take over in the same way automobiles did during the early 20th century.

Electric cars in the future

Leno predicts that children born today have about as much chance of driving a gas vehicle as today’s generation does of operating a stick shift. He thinks gas-powered automobiles will still be around just like manual transmissions are, but that there will just be fewer of them in number.

These bold claims may seem astounding until you realize that electric cars are making up a greater number of used cars for sale these days. The earliest owners of Tesla and other electric cars have now reached the point where they are ready to trade. This leaves more electric automobiles available at more affordable prices for those who have not yet taken the plunge.

Future possibilities

As technology advances, will we see more electric vehicles such as the Tesla on the road? Will new changes make these cars appeal to a wider group of people and cause them to be more attractive than gas-powered autos? Jay Leno thinks so, but we will have to wait and see if his predictions hit the mark. Until then, drivers will continue to choose between electric automobiles and those that run on fossil fuel.