Jay Leno’s adventures in collecting cars and “wrenching” on his own vehicle creations are the envy of fans and auto enthusiasts around the globe. He has a collection of around 160 motorcycles and 180 vehicles stands, all of them are stored in a huge car garage/workshop/museum in Burbank, California.
Onlookers have seen Leno riding around on the streets of LA in his classic Saab, Lamborghini Miura and a steam-powered car.
Leno loves classic-cars, and he is a huge fan of electric vehicles as well, and his Tesla (TSLA) Model S Plaid is his daily driver.
“It has been great,” Leno said about buying a Tesla. “I owned a regular [Model S] P90 before my Tesla— I owned that for seven years — that car never went to the dealership. It never did break. It was fine.”
Leno’s newest Tesla is the most expensive and fastest version of the Model S, which is the Plaid. “I own a Tesla Plaids. It’s the fastest accelerating car on the planet. Oh, and you are saving the planet also,” he said with a grin, later admitting he had purchased it for its performance.
And in Leno’s eyes, it is that performance that helps make Tesla unique, and Tesla’s massive advancements in technology that make having an electric vehicle realistic.
“Tesla is about 8 to 10 years ahead of other companies in battery tech… For newer technology to succeed, it cannot be equal, it has got to be superior, and up until the last five years or so, electric vehicles did not quite have the range. However, they do now,” he stated.
In fact, Tesla’s rivals like Lucid are touting a 500 mile range for its Air sedan vehicle, and Rivian 300+ mile range for its RT1 pickup. Tesla is raising the ante when it comes to power density and efficiency of its own batteries as well, claiming its most recent 4680 batteries are about to be put into production.
Now even though Jay Leno is no Tesla ‘stan’, he is still a long time Tesla car owner. He actually knows the tech well, drawbacks and capabilities of EVs, but thinks Tesla and Musk have proven their software and engineering prowess. However, in the beginning, he was not so sure.
“You know, Elon Musk brought his roadster here back in 2007. It was only maybe one or two prototypes then, and he told me at that time, ‘we are building infrastructure, we are going to construct charging stations all over the highways.’ And I was going, yeah, that will happen,” Leno recalls.
But Leno said he was soon proven wrong, because Musk did manage to build that infrastructure he had discussed with Leno. Tesla recently said it now has about 30,000 Supercharger stalls around the world and has built superchargers in every state. Leno sees this as a value proposition for owners of Tesla cars and also Tesla investors who are attempting to justify a valuation of $1 trillion.
“I believe they do deserve a $1 trillion valuation because they are ahead by that much,” Leno said. “Everybody that’s doing it now is kind of copying what Tesla is doing, because if you remember before this, electric vehicles were nice, but they were too slow, and they were, ‘like big golf carts,’ that kind of thing.”
It is hard to believe that used to be the case. In fact, Jay Leno (briefly) broke the world record for the fastest quarter mile while driving a Tesla Plaid earlier in the year, finishing a pass of 9.247, just below the EV’s reported quarter-mile timing of 9.23 seconds.
The car, which is able to reach 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds, will likely throw out any notion of electric vehicles being big golf carts.
Author: Scott Dowdy