The guy speaks the truth.
As the auto industry continues its rapid pace towards battery-electric vehicles only, millions of devout combustion-engined are probably feeling more helpless than ever. Both California and New York have passed early legislation banning the sales of new gas-powered passenger cars beginning in 2035. Mainstream carmakers continue to pledge their allegiance to batteries. The Ford F-150 Lightning is not just a one-off deal but rather represents the future of the F-Series lineup.
But if there's one voice out there car lovers everywhere trust, it's that of Jay Leno. The former Tonight Show host whose latest gig is "Jay Leno's Garage" spoke to CNBC a few days ago and he sounded quite optimistic about an all-EV future.
"The last days of old technology are always better than the first days of new technology, but we're beyond the first days of new technology," he said in reference to the ongoing investigation over the Chevrolet Bolt fires. "I mean, the electric car is here to stay. I predict a child born today will probably drive in a gasoline-powered car about as often as you would drive in a car with a stick shift now."
Although the issue of EV battery fires remains a valid concern for many people (not to mention Bolt owners these days), the comedian/gearhead pointed out that EV fires are not nearly as dangerous as those in gas-engined vehicles.
"It doesn't blow up," he pointedly said. "You're in it, you smell something, there's smoke, and then it doesn't go up in a ball the way a gasoline car would. That's not to say it's not dangerous and, hopefully, they'll fix the problem." Technically, Leno isn't 100% correct, as gasoline cars don't just explode. An explosion requires flammable vapors in an enclosed space, which seldom happens, and most cars immolate in the same way any other combustible item would. The bangs usually associated with a car on fire actually come from the tires exploding as heat inside them creates excess pressure and damages the rubber compound.
Still, Leno's opinions do carry some weight. His massive car collection consisting of nearly 200 cars and 160 motorcycles is housed in multiple warehouses near the Burbank, California airport. He owns everything from steam-engined vehicles that are over a century old, to supercars like the Lamborghini Countach, to one of his most recent purchases, a Tesla Model S Plaid. It's good knowing he's fully confident EVs will more than fill the combustion engine void.