Any Top Gear fans here? (editor’s note: ME!!!) In case you don’t know, Top Gear is a British television show where the three hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May embark on odd and hilarious adventures involving automobiles. One segment places “Stars in a reasonably priced car”, having them compete for track times in an economy car.
Jay Leno is using this idea for his new show on NBC, “The Jay Leno Show,” but putting a twist on it. Rather than putting stars in a Chevy Lancetti like Top Gear, Leno will have his guests racing in the “Green Car Challenge.” The vehicle of choice? The upcoming all-electric Ford Focus BEV.
As a refresher, the BEV stands for “Battery Electric Vehicle,” meaning it’s all battery power unlike, say, an EREV (Extended Range Electric Vehicle — otherwise known as a plug-in hybrid). The Focus’ suspension has been retuned by Ford engineering to make it handle better on the track, as I suspect that battery added a chunk of wobbly weight to the econobox.
Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno is a huge car aficionado with an unrivaled collection of fast, foreign, and outright weird cars. Leno happens to also be a big fan of green cars, and his new variety show (complete with in-show advertisements) gives Jay the chance to showcase advancements in alternative energy vehicles.
The Focus BEV will use lithium-ion batteries to travel up to 100 miles on a single charge. I’m interested to see how all that electric torque affects the stars out on the track, and the Focus BEV may be on the road as soon as 2011. As of this writing, the BEV takes about 12 hours to fully charge on a 110 volt outlet or 6 hours on a 220 volt. Any idea who his first guest might be?
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