Jay Leno has openly said on numerous occasions that he is a fan of the Tesla brand, its products, as well as its founder and during a recent interview, he reiterated his appreciation for Elon Musk. And he believes that it is Tesla that changed public perception of what an electric vehicle is and can do, especially when it comes to range and performance.
Speaking to Yahoo Finance, Leno notes that
I think he should get a certain amount of credit for leading the charge because before Elon, [people would say] ‘it's a golf cart.’
The comedian also recounts the time Elon Musk first came to his garage, back in 2007, with a prototype of the Tesla Roadster. He remembers being impressed by the vehicle itself, but says he was skeptical when Musk announced that he was not only planning on building EVs, but also a proprietary charging network to actually make them suitable for everyday use with minimal compromise over an ICE vehicle.
He went on to say that
People would joke about electric [that] they're slow and whatever it might be. So I give him a lot of credit for it. I think EV will be the savior of the classic car industry.
This isn’t the first time Leno has mentioned that he believes EVs are the key to maintaining interest in classic cars in the future. He makes his usual analogy with how horses were used as transportation before the age of cars and nowadays cars have allowed horses to lead easier lives since they are no longer required to pull heavy loads.
In other words, gas-burning classics would only be used occasionally, by enthusiasts, for fun, while during their typical commutes people would just use EVs, helping improve air quality. This is already happening in many places (most evidently in Norway or the Netherlands), but it sounds like Jay Leno is envisioning is a time in the future when most people will have shifted to EVs, although we do hope some of them will still be fun so that we won’t be forced to resort to ICE vehicles for a fun weekend drive on a favorite road.
We're not really sure where Jay stands on EV swapping classics, though, but when he drove an electric 1968 Porsche 912, he really loved that car and appreciated the concept. We therefore imagine his answer would be that it should be judged on a case by case nature - if it's a common old car, then it's fine, but if it's a unique, rare vehicle, then perhaps keeping it original is the best idea.