News : Jay Leno is nearing a milestone

Vauxhall Ampera (or a Chevrolet Volt at least): 11,000 miles on, and no petrol used.
Vauxhall Ampera (or a Chevrolet Volt at least): 11,000 miles on, and no petrol used.

‘I took delivery of the Volt on 12 December last year,’ Jay Leno said in a telephone interview before appearing Tuesday at a Chevrolet event held in conjunction with the Los Angeles auto show. ‘And I’ve never had to put gas in it yet.’

The comedian and late-night television host said he had put about 11,000 miles on his Chevrolet Volt in the last 11 months. ‘They gave it to me with a full tank of gas,’ he said. The tank, by the way, holds 9.3 gallons. ‘I’ve used less than half of that.’

Leno’s expansive garage is in Burbank, and every car is maintained with a full tank of petrol, current registration and valid insurance, so he can select any one of them for a drive. Some of the cars are almost never driven. Not so his Volt. It has quickly become a favorite.

‘It’s my daily driver,’ he said. ‘It really is. I commute in it to work every day. My commute, and all my other daily running around, totals less than 35 miles.’ Chevrolet claims that the Volt can travel about 40 miles on electric power alone, under normal driving conditions, before the juice in the batteries would be depleted, after which the car’s small gasoline engine would provide added range.

‘You get 40 miles free, as they say,’ Leno said. ‘Because of the way I drive it, it almost never kicks into gasoline mode.’ Leno echoed one of the primary marketing points used by Chevrolet to differentiate the Volt from purely electric cars like the Nissan Leaf.

‘I mean, I could jump in it and drive to Vegas,’ he said, a trip of about 280 miles, door to door, from Burbank. ‘They say the range is something like 400 miles.’ The Leaf can travel roughly 100 miles before requiring a charge. Aside from the mileage, Leno said he was also pleased with the rest of the car, especially its technology. ‘It’s a real breakthrough,’ he said. ‘I know people probably get tired of hearing me say that. But it really is.’

The comedian then went for the rimshot line. ‘You know it’s good because they lose money on every one of them they sell,’ he said.

The Vauxhall Ampera, as it will be known as in the UK, will go on sale here in 2012.

[Source: New York Times]

Leno driving a prototype Volt back in 2009
Leno driving a prototype Volt back in 2009
Keith Adams


  1. It was nice to see that the day after the future car challenge, one of the factory Vauxhall amperes was following the Veteran cars back to brighton – I know because I parked next to it!

  2. In the flesh I prefer the Chevy volt! They were on opposite stands at last years Paris salon and the Chevy details work better. The one from a few weekends ago is a well used mule, it think its the same one from doing the run last year as well. I like them, but check out the Saturn eura EV – the electric Vectra that never was from 2007, its nearly 2012 and you still can’t buy it.

  3. Interesting, but apparently people in the US are not buying the Volt. Article in The sunday Times had some Republican presidential candidate who owns a load of GM dealerships sounding off, pointing out ridiculous subsidies (espcially in Pennsylvania apparently) and that everyone is till buying mega-gass guzzling SUVs.

    What frightened me (apart from the republicans in general0 was that he seemed pleased that it wasn’t selling and tried to puta political spin on the situation following President Obama’s endorsement of the Volt.

    Just remember: no matter what the government over here does to make our driving more difficult and expensive, it all amounts to nowt if the US and China carry on as they are doing. Sorry.

  4. I cant help thinking that if everyone drove an electric car that the cost of electricity in the home would be substantially and unaffordably more expensive. The town electrity networks will have to be beefed up the transmission systems would need to be beefed up, and I dont know how many more nuclear power stations would be needed…but it would be more than one or two….alex

  5. The Jay Leno’s Garage website ( is well worth a browse. Huge variety of machinery in his flet. My 2 favourites are the rebuilds (3 times, I think) of a Ford Galaxie 7-litre, like his dad had once had, and an Oldsmobile Toronado (originally fwd, of course) re-engineered with modern Corvette power and rwd.

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