Top Gear Takes Innovation in a Whole New Direction

Host James May with some "commie" cars

I’m one of those freakzoid environmentalists with neither a car nor a television. Which is why it is all the more remarkable that I’m chuffed to bits by this British show Top Gear. The 13th season premieres on BBC America on Monday. I’m behind the times, what with the lack of television and all, but the folks at Top Gear were kind enough to send me a screener which I watched on my trusty laptop.

This show features cars that drive fast, which is drool-worthy for technically minded folks (me, I read my RSS feed during those parts), but of course it’s got 3 British hosts who pretty much make the thing with their banter, G&T mixing on camera, and celebrity guests who get to drive the cars too. The most entertaining part for me are the challenges the producers create for the hosts.

In Season 10, episode 2 the boys have to create amphibious vehicles with which to drive on land and across the English channel. It’s hilarious to see what they come up with, and (spoiler alert) how badly it all goes awry.

From a sustainability standpoint, at first I was a bit resistant to the program because it seemed as if it were all about gadget lust–on a really expensive scale. But what I’ve realized is that there is glory in the gadget sometimes, and we shouldn’t try to deny that, lest we become teetotalers that no one wants to talk to. The challenges where the hosts have to use their knowledge of all the moving parts to complete an asinine task remind me of the potential for problem solving that exists when one combines knowledge and passion with a healthy dose of humor and gin. Watch as the gang tests the limits of American muscle cars on the Bonneville salt flats:

Jen Boynton

Jen Boynton has been the editor in chief of TriplePundit for 8 years. With over 6 million annual readers, TriplePundit is the leading publication on sustainable business and the Triple Bottom Line. Prior to TriplePundit, Jen received an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and a degree in Sociology from Pitzer College. She spent a few years in the non-profit policy sector as well, but we won't talk about that. In her work with TriplePundit she's helped clients from SAP to PwC with their sustainability communications messaging. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA -- court appointed special advocate for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with her toddler overlord and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.