From: Jeremy Hart, Autotopia
Published September 19, 2009 02:52 PM

Electrifying New Jay Leno Show

Jay Leno is to cars as Taylor Swift is to music videos. His legendary Los Angeles garage is a shrine to internal combustion, packed with cars and motorcycles of every description. With the rest of Hollywood switching from Porsches to Priuses, it might seem Leno is at the back of the eco pack. But he’s catching up — and he wants to bring America with him.

The popular TV host and avowed gearheard is using his new prime-time program to bring electric vehicles into your living room. The Pied Piper of Petrol is asking A-list celebrities to race against the clock in a recurring feature called "The Green Car Challenge."


"We will be asking guests to set a time 'round a track in the NBC parking lot in an electric Ford Focus and seeing who the fastest green celebrity is," Leno said in an interview on the set of The Jay Leno Show in Burbank, California. "Being a green car, celebrities can save the world and race at the same time."

Leno cribbed the idea from Britain's Top Gear, which has a feature called "Star In a Reasonably Priced Car." Leno took his turn in July. Leno by his own admission was inspired by the Brits, but his adaptation has the potential to appeal to more than pubescent boys excited by rock stars almost flipping a family car.

Leno believes putting big showbiz names behind the wheel of a zero-emission (at the tailpipe, of course) Ford Focus EV could change America's perception of such cars.

"We wanted to show that electric cars can be fun and something you can race," Leno said. "In America, electric cars have the same cachet as golf carts. To see an electric car skidding around a track, I think it has the scope to change people’s perceptions of eco cars."

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