You might remember seeing the bright orange Ford Focus Electric prototype running around a track and being driven by your favorite celebrities during the Green Car Challenge on “The Jay Leno Show” last year. Now, you will be able to see the same vehicle permanently plugged in at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
Today, Ford officially handed the museum the keys to one of two Focus Electric prototypes used during the show’s Green Car Challenge segment.
“This donation signifies Ford’s transition from a prototype version of Focus Electric to the real production vehicle,” said Matt VanDyke, Ford director of U.S. Marketing and Communications. “We still believe the Focus Electric prototype can continue to create awareness and excitement for electric vehicles like it did during the Green Car Challenge. The Petersen Automotive Museum is the perfect place for the car to do that.”
Based on the European five-door production Focus ST, the racing prototype was specifically designed for “The Jay Leno Show” and used throughout the 2010 season. Tuned to perform on a racetrack, the Focus Electric was outfitted with Recaro racing seats, a full roll cage, five-point racing harness and an eye-catching Electric Orange paint scheme.
Actress Drew Barrymore was the first celebrity guest to accept the show’s racing challenge. Other participants included Steve Carell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sheryl Crow, Serena Williams, Rush Limbaugh and more. Dr. Phil McGraw ended up having the fastest lap of all the celebrities to drive the vehicle.
The Focus Electric will now be the featured vehicle in the museum’s permanent Alternative Power exhibit. The display highlights vehicles that feature engineering solutions outside of the standard gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine. Some of the other alternative-fuel vehicles in the exhibit include an electric car built in 1897, a wood-burning truck and the 1974 Dutcher – a steam-powered car on loan to the Petersen from Jay Leno.
“We are excited to add the Ford Focus Electric to our collection,” said Buddy Pepp, Petersen Automotive Museum executive director. “It is a historically significant car on many levels. Not only is this prototype Ford Motor Company’s first all-electric passenger car, but it also has a local Hollywood connection. Vehicles like this reflect our mission to explore and present the history of the automobile and its impact on American life and culture using Los Angeles as the prime example.”