• Nov 17th 2009 at 2:49PM
  • 18
Jay Leno drives Commuter Cars' Tango - click above to watch the video after the jump

Jay Leno likes him some electric Tango. No, not the new dance craze all the kids are talking texting about, but rather the oddly-narrow but very quick two-seater from Commuter Cars. Now, regular Autobloggreen readers have seen the Tango before, posing beside George Clooney or perhaps drag racing Tesla Roadsters, and many have commented (less than favorably) on its, um, nonconformist appearance. Perfect fodder, one might think, for a crack by someone who knows a thing or two about comedy. Instead, our man Jay Leno plays things pretty straight as he chats with its creator Rick Woodbury before taking it for a spin.

Watching the clip, you can tell that Leno really likes it, especially from behind the wheel. He reports it doesn't feel like a small car inside and really only looks weird from the outside. He likes that it's unique and finds the fact you can lane split with it to be hilarious. However, the real reason he states "It makes you smile..." has less to do with the Tango's width as it does with the fact that "it goes like stink," a point which he happily reiterates.

Despite its turn-of-speed, one of the Tango's biggest shortcoming is its 40 mile range at highway speeds. The car's heavy lead acid batteries are great for keeping it upright around hard corners, but you can't expect to go too far with yesteryear's technology. During their pre-drive talk, Commuter Cars' Woodbury revealed that the company is finally about to put lithium battery pack in a test car, and he expects for it to go up to 200 miles. All of which strikes us as a much more reasonable number if he ever expects to bring skinny back. Hit the jump for video of a little Tango in Jay's Garage.




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  • 18 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      That would be a great city car. Especially if you can park perpendicular. The only problem is the cost.

      I remember when I first saw the Tango. It was in Palo Alto back in 2006. It was also the first time I saw the Tesla Roadster in person. Both vehicles were right next to each other and both had the same price tag...
      • 5 Years Ago
      The future does not lie in humiliating flimsy little austerity-mobiles, echoing designs meant for poor people in poor countries.

      Americans will simply not buy such things in large numbers. We want roomy, robust, powerful vehicles that we would be happy and proud to be seen in.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Carney

        And roads are free of traffic, space is plenty and energy is abundant.

        Oh wait..

        Maybe you should forget the cliche car=6x12' format with 4 seats, motor in the front, and 5000lbs of metal. There's a time when people thought cars shall have wings and measure 25'. Things change.
      • 5 Years Ago
      All good things start out with good ideas . It does have to be shared with everybody who cares . If more poeple created solutions that work we could all profit instead of crying about spilt milk. I can add 6mpg hwy & 10mpg intown with an extra 150hp to V8 gas Ford, Chevy & Chrysler vehicles with factory warranty continuance. Large Family Highway Hybrids with Towing capability. GenesVettes.com. Reduce gas consumption from 30% to 50%.I have 3 test vehicles that I give test drives by appointment.2007 Corvette 34mpg hwy-43mpg around town 750hp-2008 Corvette 32mpg hwy 40 around town 775hp-2009 Silverado 28mpg hwy-32 around town -18mpg towing 6,000 lbs -500hp-550tq. Who will tell the public about a solution that works & will save 30 to 50 % gas consumptiom . That will also support our auto industry so we can have safer vehicles made here in the US. This is something that can be done now that will add green to many of those vehicles that are underpowered and that waist gas.Gene

      • 5 Years Ago
      Its nice to see Rick is still plugging along with the Tango after 11 years now. I first saw it when the company I worked for supplied him with a controller for his protoype back in 98-99. If I remember he hit 100+ mph in the 1/4 mile at Woodburn Raceway in OR.
      rcavaretti
      • 5 Years Ago
      Jay Leno likes him some electric Tango? Is that English?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Typeo: Watching the clip, you can ("tell") that Leno really likes it.

      Tango: Seems like a dream for parking in the city. Any crash test data on this?
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Perfect fodder one might think for a crack by someone who knows a thing or two about comedy. Instead, Jay treats it pretty straight up and even respectfully"

      Proving that Jay is no longer in the business of making jokes, but of selling cars now.

      I like electric cars more than anyone here, but the way the Tango looks just *invites* jokes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You guys fail to remember Jay's favorite car is steam powered. His favorite motorcycle has a turbine engine. Just because he's a shill, doesn't mean he doesn't like this car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      $150,000+ for a horrible looking electric car with lead acid batteries?
      Welcome to why people make fun of electric vehicles.

      And what's up with the jay leno production stunt for every vehicle?
      It's like some kind of stamp of approval. Except he likes this car, which means he's lying and is only doing it for the payola ;p
      • 5 Years Ago
      With a Li-Ion pack at least this thing would be a great commuter. Yes, it looks wierd and is not exactly attractive, but the same can be said about any number of conventional cars. This thing has a lot of plus points, namely the lane splitting, the economy, the ability to park in tiny places or even bike parking spaces, the ability to put both arms out the windows, and it's performance which is nothing short of exceptional.

      This thing would sell millions if it hit the market at around 10 to 50k euro, as a lot of people would buy it for the above plus points and not care about it's looks. I also like the new nissan land glider for much the same reasons, and that one looks sexy to boot and tilts. But the tango seems like a simpler and more effective technological solution with ideal city packaging. I would redesign it with sliding or scissor doors so you could fit 4 of them in a normal car space.

      Think about it folks. It looks wierd but it really is awesome at second glance. Kudos to the creator.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This thing just needs the newer battery tech and to be styled more like a motorcycle. Trying to wrap conventional vehicle proportions around such unconventional packaging doesn't make sense. The tandem seating arrangement makes a lot of sense too if they made the doors wider to allow easier access. Also, the solid 'thud' the hatch made when closing impressed me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd buy one if the price were right.

      But it ain't.
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