What’s your first thought when the alarm clock goes off in the morning?
We are all motivated by different things which can vary as we go through life.
Below are some of the elements of my journey to date. It’s never linear. You can easily end up doing something you never imagined a few years earlier.
It’s all about finding your true passion.
David Lewis: Electric Vehicle and Renewable Energy Consultant, Trainer and Communicator
What makes you get out of bed in the morning? For me, it’s an all-consuming desire to help people lead more sustainable lives – as quickly as possible.
Why? Because the scientific evidence is pointing towards environmental catastrophe ahead, unless we act now, fast and decisively.
Do you feel there is nothing you can do to make a difference? It’s not true! If we all make little adjustments to the way we lead our lives, we can have a massive overall effect.
For example, if you put solar panels on your roof, your neighbour will notice and start asking you questions: “How much did the installation cost? How much do you save each month? How much have you reduced your carbon footprint by?” In no time, various home owners in your street will take the plunge and solar panels will become the norm.
Ditto if you park an electric car on your driveway and plug it into your recently installed charging point. Neighbours come over and ask: “Why did you get an electric car? How much do you save on fuel? You mean they are zero emissions?” Soon more electric cars show up on various driveways. The word spreads.
After 20 years in the communication skills industry, my mid-life crisis was to question what I was doing and why. Was I really making a difference where it counts? “No” was the answer. So I retrained in Renewable Energy and have never looked back.
Boy do I recommend to anyone who isn’t fully motivated by how their professional life is going to stop, consider your options, and follow your inner passion. No-one explains this better than Steve Jobs. Your life will be transformed. You might need to take a course to learn new skills, but it’s never too late. I made the move in my early 40s. I could have gone out and bought a 1,000cc motorbike instead – thank goodness I chose renewables.
I now spend my time:
- Designing renewable energy systems for residential, public sector and commercial customers.
- Writing original content on electric vehicles, charging points, solar panels, battery storage, electricity tariffs, heat pumps, the environment, etc.
- Devising and delivering training programmes on electric vehicles and associated technologies.
- Giving talks, presentations and interviews about eMobility, CleanTech, Renewable Energy, Climate Change, and how everything connects up.
Fully Charged & Maddie Goes Electric
For example, check out this video interview I did with Maddie Moate and Fully Charged, part of their Maddie Goes Electric series:
I just love writing content about electric vehicles and renewable energy. The challenge is to explain sometimes confusing technology in simple, easy to understand terms, but – crucially – without dumbing down. Writing projects include:
Electric Car Home
This whole website – all 250 pages or so – was once a little idea bouncing around inside my head. I wanted to show how all these technologies complement each other. An EV plugged in to a home charging point being powered by solar panels with battery storage to soak up the excess solar power, and so on. After a load of late nights, Electric Car Home was born.
Electric Vehicle Guides
I soon realised you can’t save the planet on your own 🙂 – it’s a collaborative effort. I now also work with vehicle leasing pioneers, Select Car Leasing, helping build out their electric vehicle website content. We are pushing hard on multiple fronts to demonstrate the benefits of electric motoring. See for example our range of EV Guides which I add to each month:
You’ll hear a lot about heat pumps in the coming months and years, as we decarbonise heating in the UK. Polluting gas and oil boilers are out; environmentally friendly heat pumps are in. Check out this simple explainer page I wrote for Infinity Energy Services on Air Source Heat Pumps.
It’s often useful to zero in on one particular product or service and analyse it from all sides. Of course reviews are very personal and reflect your own point of view. Tesla is very much in the news at the moment, so here are a couple of reviews I put together on their ridiculously popular car, the Model 3, and their beautifully designed home battery storage product, the Powerwall.
Articles in the Press & Blogs
I am also asked to write or contribute to articles in the press, as well as blogs, on electric vehicle or renewable energy topics, such as:
- The Guardian: I need help trying to plug into the costs of charging electric cars
- Electrec: 6 ways to get the best range from your electric car in winter
- Switched on Portsmouth: Energy technologies working together in perfect harmony
Learning and Development
The first 20 years of my professional life was devoted to diagnosing the way people communicate in a business environment, spotting strengths and weaknesses, and then designing and delivering training programmes to make them more successful.
What on earth has that got to do with electric cars and energy? Good point! Actually, all those years spent watching, listening, writing, and teaching gradually created a bunch of skills which I now apply to my new passions:
Training and Mentoring
At Infinity Energy, we are lucky to be doing well in a booming sector (and I’m not referring to exploding hydrogen cars). As we grow, we take on new staff – often recent graduates with first-class engineering degrees – and it’s my job to train them up in all things renewable. The only problem is they are so smart and learn so quickly, I feel I may become obsolete in the near future…
Learning Management Systems
Select Car Leasing has hundreds of highly skilled leasing consultants and an excellent learning and development programme to support them. I am also now engaged in tailoring some of this content to take into account the world of electric vehicles, and it’s a pleasure to be able to impart some of what I know to such a receptive audience.
In this increasingly virtual world we live in, it’s nice still to have opportunities to communicate with people physically right in front of you. Some recent events I have taken part in include:
British Motor Show 2021
I delivered a series of talks on behalf of Select Electric in the Tech Theatre, hosted by the excellent motoring journalist Shahzad Sheikh, on the following topics:
- What’s the difference between BEV, PHEV, HEV, MHEV and ICE?
- Electric vehicle range explained
- What type of electric car is right for me?
Portsmouth City Council, Big Climate Conversation
Led by Andrew Waggott, Portsmouth City Council is taking massive strides towards making renewable technologies available to local residents at affordable prices or even for free. As part of their Big Climate Conversation around COP26 in November 2021, I gave a speech on “Climate Change and Home Renewable Energy”.
Getting your head around renewable energy technologies, EVs, and the environment never stops. It’s a constantly evolving space. In addition to direct experience, the following educational institutions have helped shape my thinking:
Their Renewable Energy Development programme is a wonderfully constructed learning experience. It covers all the main renewables such as wind, solar, hydro, tidal, biomass and geothermal, but also sets these technologies in the context of oil, gas, coal and nuclear. It gives you a complete, integrated overview.
I took the course part time over a number of years and thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting to reskill and switch sectors.
My undergraduate degree was in, wait for it, Modern Languages and Philosophy. I’ve been lucky enough to work and live in Germany, Spain and Portugal.
Now back in the UK, even the philosophy component of my degree has been useful. If you think of a topic like Climate Change, whether people take steps to alter their behaviour in favour of the environment and clean air will depend to a certain extent on the accuracy of facts they are presented with. Well-reasoned arguments are an essential factor, but of course there is so much more like affordability for the less well-off, and clear leadership and long-term vision from our governments.
IMD Business School
Anybody fancy a few weeks in the picturesque, lake-side town of Lausanne in Switzerland? I thought so! When I was given that chance, I took it, and enjoyed a high intensity, ‘mini MBA’ in three weeks. You meet fellow candidates from all over the world and a variety of business sectors.
It’s an educational melting pot that gives you a blast of knowledge and best practice about the global corporate world. It’s non-stop every day, so don’t go looking for a quiet raclette by the water…
The Bottom Line
I count myself very lucky to have found my true passion – even if it took me four decades – and I hope you find yours soon.
Go somewhere quiet, get out a blank piece of paper, and write down all the things that excite you. Make a short list, narrow it down gradually to just one area, and then plan how you can dedicate your life to it. It might involve some retraining, but you’ll enjoy that, too. If you move into renewable energy or electric vehicles, get in touch and we can compare notes.
Electric Car Home Ltd
Tel. 01962 393839
Company number 12046339