Adrian Grenier, the star of the recently concluded HBO show "Entourage" (and, my girls tell me, "The Devil Wears Prada"), is just as good-looking in person as he is on the big screen. I thought I’d get that out of the way upfront. But he says, “If you don’t exude the beauty within, no amount of makeup can cover it up.”
I don’t, in the course of my normal auto reporting duties, encounter Hollywood stars, and it’s a bit stranger when the Hollywood star is famous for satirizing the way Hollywood stars behave at exactly the kind of promotional event I was attending. On "Entourage," Vince would have driven to the event in his Ferrari, largely because he wanted to hook up with some woman there. As Vince, Grenier was adept at projecting the sort of fake sincerity celebrities can turn on in public. As himself, he just appears sincere. Is that just because he’s a really good actor?
Grenier, with film producer Peter Glatzer, had come to a Ford event in downtown Manhattan to promote the linkup between the automaker and SHFT.com, a consumer-oriented green website launched by those two guys. “Sustainability should be folded into the fabric of our lives, a part of our consciousness that touches everything we do,” they say. “It should be reflected in our culture, our art, our music and design, and nudge us further towards the sustainable direction in which we’re inevitably headed.”
So the site is very arts and lifestyle oriented, with 383 posts on art and 13 on conservation. The newsier stuff is in the business section, but if there was a treatise on the meaning of the Obama administration's retreat on smog regulation I missed it. There’s stuff on New Balance Eco Shoes, PACT Organic Underwear and recyclable wine racks (at left). I’m not being negative — there’s definitely a place for this kind of site, and Grenier’s celebrity brings ‘em in. I hadn’t realized that Grenier is a musician, and from all appearances a good one. He’s the drummer in The Honey Brothers, who in this SHFT video discuss how to green their tours.
I don’t see a whole lot on cars at SHFT, though there is a transportation section (with a lot, appropriately, on bikes). I had been promised an interview with Grenier and with Sherif Markaby, Ford’s very knowledgeable director of electrification programs. But I had another appointment across town and there was a horde of entertainment reporters ahead of me from outlets like US Weekly magazine. I have never before attended an event with a reporter from US Weekly.
While waiting around, I had a chance to sample the really good organic snacks, and take a closer look at Ford’s C-MAX Hybrid (at right), from which I expect great things. The C-MAX (which will also have an Energi plug-in hybrid variant) is a good platform for green, and the two models share a lot of technology, including the two-liter Atkinson-cycle engine and (unusual in a conventional hybrid) lithium-ion batteries. Both cars will appear next year, just after the Focus Electric (which boasts four-hour recharge time, plus a not-inconsiderable $39,200 bottom line) late in 2011.
“New York City will be an excellent place to use these new Ford vehicles,” Markaby said. “If you want electric commuting, but if you also need to be able to drive further, the Energi will work for you. It has 500-mile range.”
Grenier and Glatzer were up next, and the "Entourage" star (who also developed a Planet Green reality show with his partner) pointed out that a $2 electric vehicle charge is a third as much as a cup of java from a New York Starbucks. “We believe in market-driven solutions to climate change,” Glatzer said. “It matters what you wear, what you sit on, and what cars you drive.” With that, I was determined to ask Grenier what car he personally drives, since Vince, his TV character, drove nothing but gas guzzlers. But there were still people ahead of me, so I shot this video:
Finally, I ran out of time, and took matters into my own hands by butting in as other reporters were getting their photos taken with the star of the hour. “I had a Prius for a long time,” Grenier told me. “And I’m excited that we can now buy environmentally friendly cars that were only available overseas.” Does that mean he’s going to a plug-in electric? “Definitely,” he said.
Ford doesn’t make a high-end electric sports car like the brand-new Fisker Karma or Tesla Roadster, so maybe there’s a C-MAX or Focus in Grenier’s future. But Hollywood guys can and do own more than one car, right? The houses come with multiple garages.