Jay Leno says what he thinks is the talent behind Elon Musk, Tesla

Jay Leno said he thinks the talent of Tesla CEO Elon Musk is that “they were building infrastructure while building the vehicle.”

“Even today, many large manufacturers make electric cars, but, oh, where do you charge them?” Leno told “The News with Shepard Smith” during a Friday evening interview. “Elon was smart. When he started, he knew the idea would work so he built a charging station.”

Electric car maker Tesla will be the latest member of the S&P 500 on Monday in the weight of its fully float-adjusted market capitalization.

2020 has been a monster year for Tesla, the world’s sixth-largest company – with its stock up nearly 700% this year. The host of CNBC’s “Jay Leno’s Garage” said he was confident Tesla would be able to maintain its dominance in electric vehicles, adding that electric vehicles from Europe fall short.

“They don’t have a Tesla range,” Leno said. “They don’t, because Tesla leads the field. We feel this inferiority complex is that things in Europe are better than things built here.”

Leno cited host Shepard Smith as an example of excellent American innovation, including a Corvette from General Motors, who said rivals were Lamborghini and Ferrari for just 60,000.

Highlighting America’s dominance in the private sector, he pointed to Musk’s success when it comes to the space industry.

“The fact that Elon can send a rocket into space and bring it back to Earth, what about a tenth of the U.S. government’s spirit?” Leno said. “Well, that’s what private industry has to do – cheaper, faster, more efficient.”

Leno suggested that those who want to experience the “rumble of their car below” should “buy another car.” He admits he loves Ferraris, Ford Cobras and Lamborghinis over the weekend, but it’s not practical to sit in traffic and drive locally.

“If you’re in a quiet, electric vehicle, you’re not polluting and you’ll save,” Leno said. “When I want entertainment, I’ll bomb around my 1960 Triumph TR3, but in terms of everyday vehicles, you can’t beat it. [the Tesla]”