Those of you who like to stay up late to get all informed before bed may have spotted me on Nightline's segment about electric cars, Elon Musk and Tesla. I shot with Nightline for a whole day of talking and driving, and the tiny bit you see there is what wasn't edited out. Which is sort of a shame, since there was some good stuff.
Well, I thought it was good, but I think the editors had other ideas. For example, there was the whole Leaf and Volt on the dragstrip segment, which got axed entirely. What was insane about that whole part was not just that we took a Leaf on a dragstrip, but that the electric car we had that was best suited to be anywhere near a dragstrip we weren't permitted to take on the track at all. The Tesla Model S.
The Model S would likely have done great on either the dragstrip or Horse Thief Mile at Willow Springs, but Tesla's unusually defensive and paranoid PR department forbid the car from going on the track, being photographed or videoed with the other electric and/or hybrid cars, and, most painfully, I wasn't even permitted to drive it. At all.
The segment shows some very short clips of me driving the Leaf and Volt on the track and trying to make the host vomit or shriek, and I feel like I came pretty close a few times. I'm trying to get some raw footage of that so you can see how hilarious a Leaf looks sliding around a track on super-hard efficiency tires. Those tires just sort of turn to black dust instead of getting sticky or grippy, I learned.
My biggest regret is that they didn't use my great idea for introducing me to the segment. They initially wanted to have the host meet me in some parking lot out in the desert in the Model S, like I'd be "Oh, hey! I was just standing out in this shadeless, baking hot parking lot wearing a microphone! I thought maybe I'd get some sunstroke in about an hour. What are you up to?"
My idea was that I'd cram in the "frunk" of the Model S, and then the reporter would stop, and I'd open the trunk from the inside, climb out, and introduce myself. And they actually shot it! It was pretty hot in the trunk as well, but I thought it'd be a lot more fun and just as plausible as me standing out in a hotel parking lot waiting for a Tesla to stop by.
TV editing means that lots of stuff gets cut, that's just the deal. And I suppose, to some people, Elon Musk may deserve more time than me. I know, I know, it sounds weird, but I think it's true.
For the target audience of people not familiar with electric cars, I do sort of wish they included some of my explanation of the differences between a hybrid/extended-range electric like the Volt and the pure-electric Tesla and Leaf, or perhaps even the gratuitous donuts I did in the cars. Either would have been highly informative.
Also, I'm not sure Germany is going to claim the Zelectric Bug as their entry into the electric car market, but I'm really happy they took my suggestion to invite it out to the track.
Still, thanks ABC for putting my goofy windblown head on television, even if I'm not sure I consider my title to be "Car Reporter."