THE MOTORING series Fifth Gear is set to return to television for its 29th season on November 25, rebranded as Fifth Gear Recharged and now with a focus on electric and electrified cars.
According to North One, which produces the show, the decision to rebrand as more electric vehicle-focused is a result of the changing automotive climate that has seen plug-in car demand rise spectacularly over the last 12 months.
The company’s CEO Neil Duncanson said: “In the last 18 months the car world has undergone the most seismic change. Our audience wants to know everything about these new electric cars, which are now being produced at an incredible rate. They also want to know about cars powered by all kinds of alternative energies and we’ll show them.”
The new series will feature familiar Fifth Gear presenters including Vicki Butler-Henderson and Jason Plato, though a number of new faces will appear this time around. Former Top Gear presenter Rory Reid, ex-F1 and Formula E driver Karun Chandhok, journalist Grace Webb and engineering guru Jimmy de Ville from the TV series Goblin Works Garage are all joining the list of talent.
Although the Fifth Gear format will remain largely the same, there will be features looking at things such as buying second-hand electric cars, how to fit home chargers and issues surrounding EV recharging infrastructure.
Some of the highlights of the new Fifth Gear Recharged season will include:
- Karun Chandhok testing the new Cupra Born, the world’s first electric hot hatch
- Rory Reid seeing what it’s like to drive an EV through the wilds of Scotland as he tackles the North Coast 500 in the Hyundai Ioniq 5
- Vicki Butler-Henderson finding out how to convert an old Porsche 911 to electric power
- Grace Webb road-testing the electric Harley Davidson Livewire
- Jimmy de Ville testing a new electric Scottish off-roader, the Munro Mark 1
Additionally — and this is a bit more like old Fifth Gear — Jason Plato will be driving the hybrid Ferrari SF90, the prancing horse’s fastest and most powerful road car yet.
“It’s not a worthy polemic,” said Duncanson. “It’s still going to be a high-paced, entertaining hour of fun, speed, driving skill and take-out information. Everything you need to know about the cars and how to keep them on the road.”
North One has long been involved with the electric vehicle scene, producing TV coverage of both the Formula E and Extreme E racing series as well as Guy Martin: World’s Fastest Electric Car, which was shown on Channel 4 last summer.
A short history of Fifth Gear
Fifth Gear originally aired on Channel 5 in 2002 and was essentially a continuation of the old magazine-show version of BBC’s Top Gear featuring many of the same presenters, including Tiff Needell, Vicki Butler-Henderson and Quentin Willson.
When the BBC decided to revive Top Gear that same year, however, with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and Jason Dawe (who was replaced after the first series by James May) the two shows took very different paths.
Fifth Gear was cancelled in 2009 but returned in 2010, before staging another cancellation and return in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Since then, the series has run on Discovery’s Quest TV channel.
Fifth Gear Recharged will launch in the UK on November 25 on discovery+ before moving back to Quest on December 2.
- After reading about the new series of Fifth Gear Recharged, which will focus on electric cars, you might be interested to read about what Jeremy Clarkson said about The Grand Tour’s toughest trip to date
- Have you seen our guide to all the car makers’ electric vehicle plans?
- And earlier this year tributes poured in after racing driver and Top Gear star Sabine Schmitz died, aged 51