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Jay Leno might be the most famous car enthusiast in the world. Even as the host of the Tonight Show, he made his love of automobiles known. Most people think of him as a collector of classic cars, but he has an affinity for all types of cars, EVs included.
Leno’s interest in electric powertrains goes back decades, but when he got his first hybrid Chevy Volt in 2011, he’s used a plug-in model of some sort as his daily commuter ever since. In 2015, he traded in the Volt for a loaded Telsa Model S.
Beyond his own collection, Leno also highlights a wide range of electric vehicles on his show, Jay Leno’s Garage. Most recently, he test drove the new Hummer EV, even pulling it off the road to verify its 4x4 capability.
Jay Leno’s EV collection
Leno clearly loves EVs, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be using a gas-powered daily driver any time soon. This year, he upgraded his Tesla to a Model S Plaid and used it to set a production model record, finishing a quarter-mile in only 9.247 seconds.
But his daily commuters aren’t the only electric cars in his collection. MotorBiscuit says three of his five EVs are antiques from the 1900s. Among them are an upgraded 1914 Detroit Electric, an incredibly rare 1909 Baker Electric, and an even rarer 1916 Owens Magnetic.
Leno says the Owens Magnetic is one of the most unique cars in his collection, with only about a dozen left in the world. He bought it 30 years ago. Technically a hybrid, the Magnetic’s electric engine is powered by a gas generator. Leno used 3D-printed parts to get it back on the road.
Other EVs highlighted on ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’
Leno likes to show off his own cars on his gearhead series, but he also highlights new or unique vehicles that aren’t part of his collection. Occasionally, that includes an electric model.
He’s displayed new EVs like the Hummer mentioned earlier, the Tesla Model Y and Roadster, and the 2020 Porsche Taycan. He also takes advantage of his fame, getting behind the wheel of prototypes like the Mercedes-Benz EQC and the Aptera 2 Series.
Recently, he also invited electric retrofitters Zelectric to show off their Tesla-powered Porsche 912. Zelectric pulls out stock gas-powered engines from classic models and replaces them with electric powertrains. Leno calls David Bernardo, Zelectric’s founder, a “retro-futurist.”
Car insurance costs for Jay Leno’s EVs
Jay Leno’s electric car collection is a bit of an anomaly. Typically, classic car insurance is cheaper than standard coverage, but because of the unique quality of Leno’s antique EVs, he could spend more money insuring them than he does for his Tesla.
That’s because, above liability coverage, Leno would be crazy not to get his Baker, Detroit, and Owens appraised and insured based on their value. Their rarity could mean their insurance costs rival the Model S Plaid’s average monthly premium of about $300.
If you need coverage for an EV, Jerry can provide you with competitive quotes in under a minute. Swapping is just as effortless. Jerry takes care of all the paperwork and phone calls and can even assist you in canceling your old policy!