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Monday, October 31, 2011

Jay Leno Drives a Volt

Jay Leno has a lot of vehicles -- more than 100 convertibles, cars and motorcycles. But the vehicle that plays the most active role in his daily life, getting him to and from the set of "The Tonight Show" is his Chevy Volt. Why? For starters, as of September, he had yet to fill his gas tank since December 2010, even after 10,000 miles.

Leno doesn't see the Volt's all-electric competitors changing anytime soon. "I have a 1909 Baker Electric, and it goes 80 to 100 miles on a charge. The brand-new Nissan electric goes 80 to 100 miles on a charge," he said. "But the idea is electricity is like sex. People have no compulsion about lying about if it doesn't do what it's supposed to do.

You would think that Leno, given his salary, would not be concerned about saving pennies at the pump, but he seemed downright enthused about the mileage. "You get the first 40 miles free," Leno told Ad Ageon the phone from his office on the NBC lot in Burbank, Calif. "So when I go to work every day that's 28 miles, and I plug it in at work. Then I go shopping, run errands, pull in the driveway; that's 40 miles so I plug it in. It's pretty amazing because you can actually check that on the computer on the car."

"I like electricity when I need it and gas when I need to use it. With Nissan, you need two cars, one to get around town and the other to go on long trips. With the Volt, you don't. You can drive to San Francisco. It's just that after 40 to 50 miles — OK, you have a gas car again. It's silly to throw 150 years of internal combustion out the window. We don't dislike the engine. Let's come up with a better fuel. And until we do, let's do this hybrid thing. You can't do much better than that."

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