• Sep 15, 2009
Apparently, electric cars are for girls. For his new prime-time TV show, Jay Leno is going to pit celebrities against one another in his new Green Car Challenge segment and the first one in the driver's seat will be Drew Barrymore. Barrymore will get behind the wheel of a prototype Ford Focus EV this Friday. Following Barrymore's initial time trial, Leno will rope other stars into racing the sponsored Focus on a special track built outside the show's new studio once or twice a week.

For Ford, the tremendous publicity of getting celebs into their upcoming electric vehicle – which is due on the market in 2011 – is a tremendous coup. Nancy Gioia, director of hybrid vehicle programs for Ford, told USAToday that the Leno tie will go a big way in making EVs seem normal. "If (electric cars are) only seen as quirky or off the beaten path, it's really hard to get people" excited, she said.

GM's Rob Peterson sees a benefit to all automakers who are bringing an EV to market. "If we walked into the showroom in 2011 with very little lead time, some segments of the population would have a tough time understanding what these vehicles can do," he said. Instead, we'll have two years of YouTube clips of famous people saying "oh, it's so quiet" to get everyone ready.



[Source: USAToday | Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images]


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  • 23 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm sure that limo ride was all green and CO2 neutral.

      At least I hope that's a stock photo and not tied to the event.
      • 5 Years Ago
      long ten dot wuss will enjoy a short lifespan.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What the heck happened to her face? She had some bodywork done!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why her, how about a star that loves racing like Michael Jordan or Jason Priestley.
      • 5 Years Ago
      so when and where is this show going to be air. Is it the new prime time show or another one. someone explain this. Yeah I know I could look it up.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm excited to see how this goes!
      • 5 Years Ago
      It shall be named "Star in a slow moving car."
      • 5 Years Ago
      Top Gear much??.............
        • 5 Years Ago
        BR, this topic has been discussed at length in a previous thread. Leno is a HUGE Top Gear fan and wanted to do this, WITH THEIR PERMISSION. Its great he's doing it, and its not a bad thing in any way. I for one can't wait for it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Too bad the Focus still sucks as a car!
        • 5 Years Ago
        AND the Fit has a HATCH!

        If you want a coupe, you should buy the much better Scion Tc.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Everyone,

        Please ignore Yaroukh, he is a "domestic" cheerleader that tries to make himself feel better about driving a rental-spec Cobalt (not to mention that Chevy Celebrity "Eurosport" he bought in the '80s, thinking it was just like a 3-Series).

        BTW, Since the Focus is European, is it really a "domestic"? How about hecho en Mexico Fusion/MKZ/Lincoln Fusion? Answer that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Focus is ugly, outdated, doesn't have a hatch, and did I mention it is incredibly ugly? I wouldn't want to be caught dead in a Focus.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What would you rather be caught driving, in a similar price range as the Focus? Nissan Versa? Chevy Aveo? What in the world are you comparing the Focus to? A new Taurus? The Malibu? Sounds like you're just trolling this post.

        Besides, this is a mule. Europe's Focus, which will be coming to the US soon, looks much better.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I already said Honda Fit or Scion tC. Add the Civic to that list, too. Toyota and Honda have levels of reliability and quality Ford can never hope to match. Ford is too busy trying to keep up with Hyundai and Chrysler.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd rather drive a Honda Fit. It is better looking and has Honda-level reliability, interior quality, dealer experience, and you know Honda won't be in Chapter 11 in a few years.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Brian seems to be missing the point on a lot of things.... Ford's quality can never match Honda and Toyota? is this a serious statement? Do the quality rankings and consumer reports studies mean nothing these days?
        how can someone honestly say Ford is chasing Hyundai and Chrysler when all the data shows you exactly who they chased... and caught. (honda.. toyota).

        Get a life Brian. Ford is using the C-platform GLOBALLY showing you just how smart they are. the electic focus you see on the Leno show is going to be the Euro-prototype that we WILL be getting here in the U.S..... oh, and it will be a hatch. and it's smokin' hot.

        So Brian, quit being stupid and trolling a post.... just look at your ratings on all your comments and you'll see you are in a VAST minority on your viewpoint.
      • 5 Years Ago
      heh, maybe if the automakers hadn't sabotaged their EV's back in 1999 they wouldn't all be bankrupt right now.
        • 5 Years Ago
        jpm: EVs were cheaper to run back then too. The EV1 could go 800 miles on $17 of electricity, or about 2.1 cents/mile; equivalent to 47 mpg. Not much of a difference if you had a TDI, but entirely worthwhile in general.

        You *both* might want to review the "guilty" items at the film's Wikipedia article.

        The biggest chunk of evidence is the sale of NiMH patents by GM to Texaco. What on earth does an oil company want with battery technology, other than to stifle competition to its core business?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, I've seen 'who killed the electric car', and I think the automakers could have made a lot of money if they'd seen the potential of electric cars and invested in manufacturing them in mass(which would put costs down of all the currently expensive components a lot), but instead they didn't consider future potential, they went for the most profitable in the short term, and now they are bankrupt.

        The other problems with EV's were insignificant in comparison to the decisions made by the automakers. They could have quite easily got around those problems if they had tried.

        I guess that main problem is that companies stock can be traded so easily that there is not enough motivation to make them profitable in the long term.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hi, I'm from an earth where gas was about a buck in 1999. What earth are you from where gas was $10/gallon to make EVs make sense beyond a small contingient of early adopters?
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