Jay Leno said he thinks the genius of Tesla's CEO Elon Musk is that "he was building the infrastructure as he was building the vehicle."
"Even today, a lot of the major manufacturers build an electric car, but, oh, where do you charge it?" Leno told the "The News with Shepard Smith" during a Friday evening interview. "Elon was smart, when he started, he knew this idea would work so he built charging stations."
Electric car maker Tesla will be the newest member of the S&P 500 on Monday at its full float-adjusted market capitalization weight.
2020 has been a monster year for Tesla, the sixth largest company in the world — its stock is up about 700% this year. The host of CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage" said he was confident that Tesla would be able to sustain its dominance in electric vehicles and added that he's seen electric cars from Europe fall short.
"They don't have the range of the Tesla," Leno said. "They don't, because Tesla leads the field. We seem to have this inferiority complex that somehow things in Europe are better than things built here."
Leno gave host Shepard Smith examples of superior American innovation, including General Motors' Corvette, which he said rivals the Lamborghini and Ferrari and is only $60,000.
Highlighting America's dominance in private industry, he pointed to Musk's success when it came to the space industry.
"The fact that Elon can send a rocket into space and land it back on Earth for, what, a tenth of the price of the U.S. government?" Leno said. "Well, that's what private industry is supposed to do — cheaper, faster, more efficient."
Leno suggested that those who want to feel the "rumble of a car underneath them" should "buy another car." He acknowledged that he loves Ferraris, Ford Cobra, and Lamborghinis on the weekend, but that they're just not practical to sit in traffic and drive locally.
"If you're in a quiet, electric vehicle, you're not polluting and you're saving," said Leno. "When I want to have fun, I'll take out my 1960 Triumph TR3 and bomb around, but in terms of everyday vehicles, you can't beat it [the Tesla]."
Jay Leno discusses why Tesla's vehicles are successfulThe News with Shepard Smith