There’s something terribly fickle about the bright lights and flashy sets of the TV talk-show genre. But while Jay Leno’s chat show on NBC may have failed to receive positive viewing figures the bright orange 2009 Ford Focus electric prototype used in the show has just found a new home: Petersen Museum.
Donated by Jay Leno and Ford, the specially-built one-of-a-kind electric Focus was built to be used in The Jay Leno Show in a special segment called the Green Car Challenge.
Driving around the 1100 feet course twice, celebrity guests of the show were invited to see who could be the greenest driver, complete with tongue-in cheek Al Gore popup figure designed to test the drivers’ responses.
The Jay Leno Show’s Green Car Challenge was obviously a fun take on the BBC Top Gear’s Star in a Reasonably Priced Car challenge, where weekly celebrity guests of the popular and controversial motoring entertainment show are invited to drive a 2006 Chevrolet Lacetti around the show’s 1.75 mile course in as quickly as possible.
But much like the British celebrity segment, Jay Leno’s guests have drawn a veritable who’s who of the celebrity world to drive the all-electric Ford, including Drew Barrymore, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Serena Williams and Sheryl Crow.
Ford Focus BEV for The Jay Leno Show's Green Car Challenge
Unlike the 2012 Ford Focus electric due to be launched later this year, the electric Focus used in The Jay Leno Show was never destined for production. Based on a European specification Focus Hatchback, it was built to order by Ford specifically for the show.
“The Show was a failure, but at least the car was a success,” joked Leno as he handed over the keys to the Peterson Museum, where it will join an impressive collection of alternative fuelled vehicles.
An avid car collector, Jay Leno been an advocate of electric vehicles for many years. Among those in his own private collection of supercars, historic vehicles and daily drivers is a 1909 Baker electric car and a recently acquired 2011 Chevrolet Volt.
We’re glad to see the car which introduced many Americans to the concept of electric vehicles has found a home and suspect that it won’t be the last time we’ll see it being driven on television either.
As for Jay Leno? As his spinoff-series Jay Leno’s Garage has shown, his enthusiasm for electric vehicles is likely to continue for a very long time.
We can’t wait to see what he drives next.
To check out the custom-built Ford Focus at the start of its career on The Jay Leno Show, check out the video below.