• Oct 2, 2012
BBC's TopGear recently had an exclusive interview with Leonardo DiCaprio to find out about his commitment to sustainability and his investment in Fisker Automotive. The most surprising thing is that Leo was in part responsible for Fisker getting started in the first place.

TopGear started out by digging into Leo's early car experiences. His first car was a Sixties Ford Mustang fitted with the classic Windsor 351 (5.8-litre) engine that could smoke anyone on the road. The problem was it didn't have power steering and an engine that would just shut off. After being invited to the White House in the late 1990s by then-vice president Al Gore, who gave him an environmental 101 talk, DiCaprio embraced environmental issues. It was a defining moment, and it inspired him and his family to start the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998, which "supports efforts to secure a sustainable future for our planet and all of its inhabitants."

His green credentials were recognized by the broader public until years later, when he showed up driving his Toyota Prius to the Academy Awards. "I'm photographed constantly by paparazzi when I leave my home so it was just a responsible thing to do as an environmentalist," DiCaprio said.

Here's the twist. Fisker Automotive co-founder Henrik Fisker says that it was that moment – watching Leo and the Prius at the Oscars – that inspired him to start up his company. "I saw you getting out of the Prius, and I thought there's got to be a market for an environmentally friendly car which goes beyond the Prius. That was my first inspiration," Fisker said.

DiCaprio's reasons for liking the Fisker plug-in hybrid might resonate with a few average American car shoppers and movie goers out there. "I started trying hybrids, which were fantastic. But you can say that there are lots of vehicles out there that get equal or better mileage. Then I bought two electric vehicles, which I found I never wanted to drive. I was afraid of being stranded on the Pacific Coast Highway and standing at a restaurant for six hours while my vehicle's plugged in."

He also liked the look and feel of the Fisker Karma sports car. He hopes to make a financial return on investment and to raise awareness of his Foundation. Beyond that, he hopes to see Fisker make cars lower in cost, which is coming out soon with the Fisker Atlantic, because "you want everyone to be able to drive a vehicle like this," he said, not just movie stars.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      Ashton
      • 22 Hours Ago
      not all steps are forward.
      Doug
      • 22 Hours Ago
      This story is like 2 weeks old. Way to stay topical.
      Spec
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Tesla was started in the same manner. While driving around Silicon Valley, Elon noticed that many people had a 9/11 and a Prius. The Prius was the eco-friendly daily commuter and the 9/11 was a weekend fun. Why not combine the two?
        Doug
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        It was Martin Eberhard that made that observation.
          Spec
          • 22 Hours Ago
          @Doug
          I stand corrected!
          Spec
          • 22 Hours Ago
          @Doug
          Corrected twice! :-) I gotta re-read my posts before hitting submit.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        There's no "/" in "911". Please don't do that.
          Spec
          • 22 Hours Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          LOL. That was an accident. I was just posting elsewhere about terrorism and it must have still been on my mind! Weird.
      mustsvt
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Leo is so green...driving his $100,000 hybrid to his huge mansion...or to the airport to take a private jet all over the world to go to film festivals.
        Marco Polo
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @mustsvt
        @ mustsvt Let's see, Leonardo DiCaprio is rich, successful, good looking, highly intelligent, well respected, a leading philanthropist, and has millions of admiring fans, whom he encourages to become environmentalists ! You, on the other hand, can only contribute a negative , snide comment......the only green you are displaying is envy !
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @mustsvt
        I'm sure you drive a Civic, Prius, or something equally environmentally responsible :)
          mustsvt
          • 22 Hours Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @Marcopolo. God forbid someone dares to disagree with one of you tolerant and inclusive liberals. How do you think those beautiful electrons are generated? The people who have purchased Karmas are beta testers for Fisker but at least for now it is a free country so they can buy whatever they want. I stand by my original point, finger waggers like Leo burn more carbon with their lifestyles in a month than the average gas burning Americans they hold in such disdain do in a year.
          mustsvt
          • 22 Hours Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Sorry but when you factor in the rare earth metals of the battery, the material and shipping costs of the vehicle etc there is no way you can see the Karma as a "green" car. It is stylish, it is exclusive, it is advanced (when it works as designed) but it is a vanity project that allows rich people and movie stars to drive a an exotic without losing their green cred.
          Marcopolo
          • 22 Hours Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Mustvt Liberal ? I am a card carrying conservative !
          Marcopolo
          • 22 Hours Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @ mustsvt " It is stylish, it is exclusive, it is advanced (when it works as designed) but it is a vanity project that allows rich people and movie stars to drive a an exotic without losing their green cred." Take away the "vanity", and you have summed up the Fisker Karma. The picture is now complete. Poor old mustvt, ignored and frustrated, trundling home through the heavy traffic in his humble Ford Fusion, all 4 cylinders furiously burning fuel from lands where once only camels roamed, only to be silently passed in the HOV lane, by this beautiful vehicle gliding on electrons, with small boys and pretty girls waving delightedly from the family SUV's blocking mustvt's lane. As the Karma turns off to the elegant fashionable area, which mustvt has only seen on TV, musttvt grinds his teeth and desperately tries to get the air-conditioning to stop blowing, hot, stale air..........
          mustsvt
          • 22 Hours Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          My daily driver is a 4cyl Ford Fusion SE, better mileage than a Fisker, lol...
          Letstakeawalk
          • 22 Hours Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          It's not about instantaneous mileage. It's about the total amount of gasoline used during the lifetime of the vehicle. The Karma uses vastly less gasoline than any standard hybrid.
      mustsvt
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Not envy at all, I admire much of Leo's work and have no problems with alt fuel vehicles. What I am tired of is people with hundreds or thousands of times my carbon footprint acting like they are saving the planet by driving a hybrid.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 22 Hours Ago
      " What I am tired of is people with hundreds or thousands of times my carbon footprint acting like they are saving the planet by driving a hybrid." I feel the same way about hybrid drivers, while I ride my bike to work, which is outdoors. (People pay me to take them for walks outside.)
      Ashton
      • 22 Hours Ago
      While I think he is a great actor, I think he is going to lose all the money he threw into the sink hole, that is Fisker.
        EZEE
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Ashton
        No problem with risking his own money and those of willing investors....
        Spec
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Ashton
        So what if he does? Someone has to go first and test the waters. If they go under, so be it. But the ball will be moved forward. There is an interest for the cars and someone will eventually be able to build a car that is nice and cheap enough that it becomes a big hit.
        GoodCheer
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Ashton
        People loose money every day betting for or against companies. Most of them pick companies just based on getting more money out. If he wants to pick companies based on an altruistic principle (whether you believe/understand it or not), then more power to him. I'm not too bullish on Fisker given all their bad press lately, but I'd love to see them succeed.
      Spec
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Damn. That was a well-played pun there, Marco.
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