Jay Leno on Electric Cars, Hydrogen Fuel, Space Travel—and His Recent Accident
Kanebridge News
Share Button

Jay Leno on Electric Cars, Hydrogen Fuel, Space Travel—and His Recent Accident

The comedian and car lover has been very happy with the EVs he has bought. He is less interested in leaving Earth, though.

Mon, Dec 12, 2022 8:30amGrey Clock 6 min

Two years ago, we invited Jay Leno to write about his love of cars, and his thoughts about driving during the pandemic. In that article, he also talked about his fondness for electric cars.

A lot has happened in those two years, with technology companies, auto makers and governments betting a lot of money on electric vehicles as the transportation of the near future. So we thought it was time to check in with Mr. Leno, who is back performing at comedy clubs after his accident in which he suffered severe burns while working on one of his cars. He has new material from the accident, he says.

Here is what Mr. Leno had to say, as told to The Wall Street Journal.

Out with the old, in with the old

They had electric cars before they had gas cars back in the early 1900s. But at the time, what they didn’t have was electricity, at least in homes. I mean wealthy people had it, which is why wealthy Wall Street types bought electric cars for their wives, because they could putt around town and not get on your hands and knees and crank it and get dirty and set the choke and get gasoline on your hands and that kind of thing.

So electric vehicles were always quite popular for that reason. I’ve said this before, but for new technologies to succeed, it can’t be equal. It has to be superior on every level and to other forms.

I’ve got a 1909 Baker Electric and I’ve got a 1914 Detroit Electric that we’ve converted to modern electrics. We put air conditioning and Bluetooth and all kinds of things in the Detroit Electric. My 1909 Baker Electric has not needed any service in the 30 years that I’ve had it. I’ve replaced the batteries because they’re basically like golf-cart batteries, deep cycle six volts. And they last about 12 years. They’re not lithium ion. You could change to lithium ion if you wanted to, but it’s an antique vehicle.

Powering your car and home

I’m quite proud of American manufacturing.

The new electric Ford F-150 is unbelievable. I drove it as a work vehicle. It is eminently practical. You can you go 240 miles on it, and you can power your house for three days with it if you lose power.

When they had the big freeze down there in Houston last year and people had no electricity for days, dealers, in one of the most brilliant public-relations moves, just gave the trucks to people, and people powered their houses for days—making them, if not customers, certainly fans.

Affordable options

I thought a car that was just brilliant was the Chevy Volt. I had one for seven years. It’s a hybrid and you got 40 miles electric free without using any gas. It didn’t seem like much, but I put 90,000 miles on that car, only 3,800 of it was gasoline-powered. I used it at my shop: We’d plug it in, then we’d go to lunch in it, go run an errand and do some chores, which is 25 to 30 miles around Los Angeles. We’d come back, plug it in, and you go back to work for a couple of hours.

I was never having to switch over to the gas part of it. Once a year, every Dec. 7, not for any particular political reason, just every Dec. 7, I’d fill up the tank.

When the Volt stopped that they went to the Bolt, which is pure electric because in a lot of states now you can’t get the tax break or anything with a hybrid.

I think it makes perfect sense that you use your electric car during the week. To sit in traffic on the 405 freeway in bumper to bumper, in something that gets 7 to 9 miles a gallon, really doesn’t make a lot of sense. I used to have a Jaguar; it had a big V-8 engine that was supercharged, and that was $125 a week in gas. And I didn’t feel like I was going anywhere. I switched to the Tesla, and now it costs about the same as a cooking a turkey.

I think the electric car will be the great savior of the classic-car industry and gasoline cars. Remember, in the early 1900s, 500 tons of horse manure were dumped into the streets of New York City every day. Suddenly, the car comes along, and a puff of blue smoke in your face wasn’t so bad. Horses became something people loved, and used for show and racing.

That’s what will happen with the gas car. Sitting in L.A. traffic with a Ferrari going 8 miles an hour is nobody’s idea of fun. So you use an electric car during the week, and on the weekend you drive up in the mountains and use the Ferrari for what it was made for. Or maybe you have a ’65 Mustang. Now it is something to be restored and treasured.

Hydrogen fuel is a sleeper

I love reading future stuff. You look at the year 1900, and they said by the year 1950, women would be sitting in bars, smoking and drinking just like men. It showed women in hoop skirts with one leg in the air and they’re smoking cigarettes and they have a bottle of whiskey in the hand. They never even foresaw women having voting rights, women becoming senators, women having equality with men. They only saw it as they would pick up the bad habits of men.

Nobody ever thinks that far ahead.

Everybody predicted flying cars. But that never happened.

Nobody predicted when I was a kid that we’d be carrying a phone. When I was in the fifth grade, a guy from a Bell phone company came to our classroom, and he said by the time we were grown up, no American would be further than one mile from a phone, no matter where they were in the United States. And we just thought that was unbelievable. The idea of carrying a phone with you never ever occurred to anybody. A Star Trek communicator? That was hundreds of years in the future. But it has happened already.

The other great one for cars is hydrogen. Hydrogen can be a real player in the future and I would not rule it out.

I like hydrogen because the more alternatives you have, the better. During World War II, when there was a gasoline shortage, a lot of people pulled out their old Stanley Steamer cars. And people converted their cars. There used to be a thing called a gasifier. They would put it so it looks like a big stove in the back seat of the car and they would burn wood or coal, they would run a tube to the carburetor and the car would run on the methane from the burning of the wood or coal just like with gas. It was inconvenient, yes. It was messy, it was dirty, but it did provide transportation when gasoline was not available.

In case of some sort of natural disaster where, oh, our lines of fuel are shut off, we have electricity, we have hydrogen, we even have steam if necessary.

I demonstrated a hydrogen car back onstage in 2001. I said, “Give me a glass.” So I took a glass and I started up the hydrogen car on the stage, and I put the glass under the tailpipe and I went back to the talk. The byproduct of hydrogen is water. After 20 minutes, the glass filled up with water, and I drank it and people were astounded. It wasn’t the best-tasting water, but there was nothing harmful about it. Hydrogen is a viable fuel because the only byproduct is water. I think hydrogen is a sleeper.

Bullish on Tesla

Last year, I sold my old Tesla and bought a new one, the Tesla Plaid. That’s the latest version, and at least as of this date, it’s the fastest-accelerating car you could buy with the exception of the $2.5 million Rimac. If you’re looking for performance at a reasonable price, it’s a pretty good deal. My other Tesla was seven years old. I got $95,000 for it. It held its value. The battery dropped maybe 3% to 5%. As a first-generation Tesla, you got about 228 miles on a charge. When I sold it, it was 223, maybe. I never went to the Tesla shop for anything other than a flat tire.

Space travel

I realized I am not an out-of-the-box thinker. I remember talking to Elon Musk years ago about his high-speed train. And I asked, “You’re building this high-speed train to go like 200 mph.” He said, “Oh no, 800.” How can it be? He told me something like 800 mph, because it’s not a train, it’s a vacuum tube. And I realized he’s thinking on a level I’m not.

I have no interest in going into space. I see why he’s fascinated with it. But there’s nothing there. Imagine, you’re now on Mars. Todd? Susan? Anybody here? I don’t get it. I have no desire to perform in an empty auditorium. I gravitate toward cities. I don’t go to a mountain for three weeks by myself.

The recent accident

Eight days later, I had a brand new face. And it’s better than what was there before.

But really, it was an accident, that’s all. Anybody who works with their hands on a regular basis is going to have an accident at some point. If you play football, you get a concussion or a broken leg. Anything you do, there’s a risk factor.

You have to joke about it. There’s nothing worse than whiny celebrities. If you joke about it, people laugh along with you.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Related Stories
Best Paints In Australia For Exceptional Interior And Exterior Finish: 2024 Guide
By Kanebridge News 04/12/2023
Tornados! Fire! Ice Storms! These Real-Estate Agents Risk Life and Limb for the Sale
By ROBYN A. FRIEDMAN 03/12/2023
Higher deposits, stretched LVRs & more borrowers needing mortgage insurance
By Bronwyn Allen 30/11/2023
Best Paints In Australia For Exceptional Interior And Exterior Finish: 2024 Guide
By Kanebridge News
Mon, Dec 4, 2023 5 min

You either love it or loathe it but there’s no question that painting your house, whether it’s inside or outside, takes considerable time and effort. So it’s important that once the preparation work is done, you choose the best paint for the task. With so many on the market, it can be challenging sorting through so we’ve prepared the ultimate painting product cheat sheet. It’s guaranteed to be more fun than watching paint dry.



Exterior Schemes | Dulux

Best for: Exterior walls

Available in 10 paint types, including Low-Sheen, Semi Gloss and Render Refresh, the Weathershield range has been specifically designed for Australian conditions with built-in UV, mould dirt and stain resistance. As the market lead, the Dulux range of colours stretches into the thousands,but  the company provides specific advice for popular exterior colour schemes.



Vibrant Taubmans colours used to create memorable restaurant interior | ArchitectureAU

Best for: Interior walls

Created with Nanoguard Advanced Technology, the Taubmans Endure range is ideal for high traffic areas such as hallways and living areas thanks to its ability to withstand wear and tear. According to the manufacturer, it also protects against mould and mildew and is approved by the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice program.



British Paints Primal Instinct | Neutral Colour Chart & Palette

Best for: Exterior surfaces

As the name would suggest, the point of difference with this paint product is its ability to weather seasonal changes. Owned by the Dulux group, British Paints 4 Seasons is self priming on most surfaces, for a faster, more satisfying result. It comes with a 25-year guarantee against peeling, flaking and blistering as well as providing resistance to mould, fungus and algae.



Haymes Paint launches Origins Colour Library for 2024 | ArchitectureAU

Best for: Interior walls

Haymes Paints was established in Ballarat in 1935 and the family-run business still offers an Australian owned and made product. Haymes Expressions® Low Sheen has been designed for easy washing – and stain removal –  and is ideal for wet areas, thanks to its seven-year mould and mildew protection guarantee. Haymes Paints also releases a yearly colour forecast to provide design professionals and homeowners with inspirational colour palettes.



Wattyl Solagard | Wattyl Australia

Best for: Exterior surfaces

A mainstay of the exterior paint market, Wattyl Solagard is known for its durability and colour fastness over an extended period of time. Suitable for painting over most exterior surfaces, including concrete, masonry, timber and galvanised iron, it is UV and dirt resistant. It is available in a wide range of colours to suit most house styles, including Coastal, Heritage and Modern.



Porter's Paints Launches Smooth Impasto & Colour Collection 16.

Best for: Specialty finishes

Now part of the Dulux Group, Porter’s Paints has built its reputation on its wide range of specialty finishes for exterior or interior use such as limewash, chalk paint, French wash and liquid iron. While some products require specific application processes, there are easy-to-follow video tutorials and step-by-step instructions to support customers interested in a unique finish. Aside from an enviable array of carefully crafted colours, Porter’s Paints are water based and low in VOCs.




More homeowners are becoming aware of the potential hazards associated with house paint, particularly when it comes to air quality. The main concern is Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, which are released into the indoor environment and have been linked with eye irritations, breathing difficulties, as well as damage to kidneys, the liver and the central nervous system. From a product perspective, VOCs slow down the drying process, creating a wet edge on application so the user has more time to work with it.  More paint manufacturers are now offering low or zero VOC paints, but be aware that even those paints may still contain elements like ammonia and formaldehyde. Ventilate the space as much as possible, opening windows and doors as well as using fans and wear masks and gloves to minimise exposure to fumes while working.




Painting a home involves so many decisions, and choosing the right paint for the right job is tricky. Here we look at the top paint brands for the jobs at hand.

Exterior paints need strength to withstand the elements, they do this by adding additional and expensive, top quality resins so fading is less of an issue, and new technology that offers UV protection.  Who wants to repaint a house, right? After years of advancement, you can now achieve great results with acrylic exterior paint, which has the primer built in. Taubmans All Weather and Taubmans Sun Proof are great options here.

Exterior features such as fences and front doors are a chance to add extra zing to the design, and very often the best way to produce that effect is with a gloss or enamel paint. While there have been improvements in acrylic gloss products, purists and pros are still reaching for the oil based product – the finish is simply brighter and more reflective, and more to the point will last longer on high traffic spots such as doors. The lesser known Norglass brand offers a magnificent result, and comes in small cans, which is a bonus for feature trim jobs.

Interior walls cop the most passing traffic scuff and grime, especially if you are blessed with kids or pets. The ideal paint here is a washable, acrylic based paint that goes on smoothly, and wipes clean easily. A combination of huge colour range, and great coverage (meaning less coats to put on) is the Dulux Wash and Wear brand. You can actually feel the extra weight on the brush or roller, which is a good thing, but tougher on older hands, or newbies to the roller game.

Getting on top of ceilings is perhaps the most difficult of paint jobs; back breaking and neck stretching, it is a job with little pay off – but is critical to achieve a perfectly finished room. A dead matte finish is ideal, usually in white (but don’t let that stop you), and always acrylic. While you can use a cheaper matte paint, a purpose designed one will go on easier and offer better coverage – it’s designed to be a one stop wonder. British Paints Paint and Prime is reputed to have be a good ceiling paint that goes on thickly, and works particularly well with a long knap roller, reducing spray.

Houses have damp zones, and yes they need extra care because paint that doesn’t deflect the wet will get mould, mildew and then peel. The elasticity of acrylic paint is great here, and Berger Paints have a product, Kitchen and Bathroom Everlast which offers a five-year guarantee against mould and mildew. Best tip here is to, for once, not use a matte ceiling paint, but the soft or low sheen bathroom paint.

A secret of professional painters is the top paint brand Haymes. Haymes is perhaps a lesser known brand to the home decorator but it has been rated by Canstar as the top paint in Australia for the last six years. Haymes has been produced by the one family in Australia for generations, and commands respect from those who spend their lives up a ladder. They don’t need expensive ad campaigns, because those in the know don’t need reminding of this solid and impressive brand. Always consider checking out their products when starting a project.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Related Stories
Best-Performing Super Funds Over 10 Years Revealed
By Bronwyn Allen 27/10/2023
Banks Earn Billions Thanks To Higher Interest Rates
By Bronwyn Allen 16/11/2023
Are there any affordable homes left in Australia?
By Bronwyn Allen 17/11/2023
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop