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Electric Vehicles 2017 - The future of motor travel is here!

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 27th July 2017

Tesla Model X

With the ever growing popularity of electric vehicles in the UK there are now more than 100,000 plug-in cars on our roads compared with 3,500 in 2013. With more choice than ever before the UK electric car market is booming, which is no wonder as eco friendly cars are more economical, smoother to drive, see lower tax and maintenance costs and are much quieter than their conventional diesel/petrol counterparts.

Traditional EV’s are the perfect choice for those who have short commutes, and are popular for those that live in cities. However, as technology moves forward we are seeing the emergence of vehicles such as the new Tesla which include models that have a range of 300 miles on one charge. This alongside prices becoming more affordable, the benefits of owning an EV outweigh the initial cost by providing a greater reward of lower running costs and a cleaner environment.

Helping the Environment

For those that are concerned about the effects on the environment, purchasing an electric vehicle will help reduce the pollution rates produced by diesel/petrol-fuelled equivalents. We are now seeing a change in the buying patterns of more environmentally conscious purchasers who are ditching their polluting vehicles for EVs in the hope that this help to clean up our cities.

Carl Bennett, Managing Director at Trade Skills 4U, has been thinking about changing his car for a while now, and being an environmentally conscious person himself, has decided to take the plunge and invest in a new Tesla.

Tesla X model

We caught up with Carl to ask what his reasons were for buying an Electric Vehicle:

What made you choose a Tesla? Initially to help control my personal pollution output for future generations, also as Managing Director of an innovative electrical training company I like to promote electrical innovations such as this. Elon Musk, co-founder, CEO and Product Architect at Tesla describes people buying Tesla’s as 'Early Adopters’, and are being rewarded by receiving free charging for the life of the car. It’s clearly the future, and I believe that the Tesla supercharging system is the best available, with charging points all over the UK and growing.

What model did you choose and why? I’ve chosen the Tesla X. It’s an SUV type with 6 seats, which also has plenty of storage space, which when travelling between our facilities around the UK is useful, especially if I’m asked to carry materials and all manner of equipment. Plus the front has a handy space for my golf clubs!

Tesla back

What attracted you to this car? With an extended range of 300 miles, it enables me to travel between Birchwood and Gatwick on a usual overnight home charge, then I’ll charge it again at Gatwick for the journey back home to Warrington. Plus it looks great! Less sporty than the previous Tesla models which suits me as I don’t do sporty!

What are the benefits of owning an EV? Not having to fuel-up on a smelly cold raining garage forecourt on a February morning really appeals to me. Essentially with the home charger I have a fuelling station on my own drive. It’s so easy, I plug it in at night, I wake up and its fully charged with 300 plus miles, ready to take me anywhere, and obviously, the costs of petrol v electrical charging.

What is the driving experience like? Superb, I’ve test driven a few Tesla’s now. The drive is smooth, quiet, not silent and instantly responsive. I’ve also used the auto pilot which is scary but brilliant and statistically safer than human control. However, other than maybe sitting in slow moving M25 traffic, I have no doubt that I’ll use it fully when regulation allows it.

Tesla Seats

What are the best features? The technology, the huge computer screen in the dash contains all sorts of goodies, including a huge Google map, a web browser, rear facing HD camera, plus the interior cabin is like a spacecraft, and gorgeous.

How do you intend to use the car? Commuting between our facilities around the UK, especially so as we expand further. Plus the usual short journey errands, oh and to Rugby League matches along the M62.

How will you charge your vehicle? I’m currently having a charger installed at my house, but I’ve also applied for TradeSkills4U to be a Tesla destination location. The charger bays will be installed at our Gatwick and Birchwood centres in August, which will be free-of-charge for anyone to use, even none customers.

What do you think about the Governments plans for electric vehicles? With the ever increasing news about banning new diesel and petrol cars by 2040, there will be a greater need for Electrical Car Charging installers in the UK, which will give electrical installers the opportunity to generate an additional income stream. As the UK’s premier specialist electrical training provider my aim is to increase our Electric Car / Vehicle Charging Point Installation training to become the biggest in the UK.

What Car? Top 10 electric cars

Below we've shared with you the What Car? count down of their favourite EVs and look ahead to the models you'll be able to buy soon.

10. Volkswagen e-Up

Volkswagen e-Up

The regular Volkswagen Up is one of our favourite city cars, and this electric version is just as practical and good to drive; it feels almost entirely uncompromised by its conversion to electric power. It's just that unfortunately, it costs twice as much as the petrol models. 

9. Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf

One of the more affordable electric models on sale, the Leaf is about the same size as a Vauxhall Astra and similarly easy to drive. There are two battery options to choose from: a 24kWh that allows a theoretical range between charges of 124 miles, and a 30kWh that extends this to 155 miles. The latter is only available on the more expensive trim levels, though.

8. Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai

The Mirai is a hydrogen-fuelled car, which means that you'll need to fill it up with hydrogen at specially chosen filling stations, of which there are currently very few. It's powered by a single 152bhp electric motor and can travel for up to 400 miles between refills. We found it to be quiet and well controlled, but at around £66,000 it's certainly pricey, and with limited volumes coming to the UK it's likely to be a very rare sight.

7. Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul EV

The Soul EV is Kia's first attempt at an electric car, and is actually better to drive than the petrol model. For starters, it feels more eager, thanks to the instant torque from its electric motor. What's more, it's quiet and decent to drive. However, problems include a high price and an interior that feels rather cheap.

6. Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

On paper, Tesla's all-electric family SUV seems to be the dream combination, offering the luxury of a Range Rover Sport with the green credentials of an electric car. In practice, its low running costs and practical interior are hard to fault, and even the entry-level 75D versions aren't short on pace, but parts of its interior do look a little low-rent.

5. Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai ioniq

The Ioniq is really three cars in one - it's available as a conventional hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and as a fully electric car. The EV version we're including here has a range of 174 miles, and enough torque to make acceleration feel brisk around town. The interior is nice too, and our recommended Premium models get sat-nav and heated front seats as standard.

4. Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf

Unlike purpose-built electric vehicles such as the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf, the e-Golf is based on a conventional hatchback. However, this is no bad thing, because it means it has all the good points of the regular Golf, along with greatly reduced running costs.

3. BMW i3

BMW i3

A smart interior and great handling make the i3 one of the most appealing electric vehicles on sale today, while it's groundbreaking use of super-light carbonfibre and aluminium offset the weight of the battery pack that’s mounted beneath its floor. In addition to the fully electric model, BMW offers a Range Extender model with a two-cylinder petrol engine that can generate extra power for the car's batteries.

2. Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

The quiet and comfortable Model S saloon is as capable as it is desirable, offering staggering performance and an impressive range for an electric car. It’s practical, too, with seating for up to seven, while almost all of the car’s controls are accessed via a massive 17in touchscreen that's easy to personalise and updates wirelessly.

1. Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe

The Zoe’s main strength is that it feels like a conventional, stylish, nippy small car, and just happens to cost pennies to run. The electric motor has enough shove for the Zoe to lead the charge away from traffic lights, and the interior has room for four to sit in reasonable comfort. Even the boot is larger than you’ll find in many regular small cars; it's easily big enough for a family's weekly shopping.

Government incentive

The Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, which is being introduced by the government, includes electric car charging points being installed at all large filling stations in Britain. This is great news for the EV owner, as many of the UK’s 8,500 garages will have to provide charging facilities on their forecourts. There are some great websites out there to help find vehicle charging points around the UK ie Ecotricity and Zapmap.

Government invests in battery technology

With the ongoing improvements in battery technology the EV’s range is now much less of an issue than ever before. This is being helped by the Governments announcement of a £246 million investment in battery technology which will undoubtedly help towards making the UK a world leader in battery technology.

Government plug-in grant

Car manufacturers and dealerships are being offered government grants to reduce the price you pay for brand new electric and hybrid vehicles. The Government Plug-in Car Grant can help you save as much as £4,500 on a selection of new environmentally friendly electric and plug-in hybrid cars which cost less than £60,000. To qualify, a new car must emit less than 75g/km of CO2 and be able to travel at least 10 miles in silent electric-only mode. Click here for a full list of cars currently eligible for the government plug-in car grant.

Training opportunity

Here at Trade Skills 4U we offer the C&G 2919-01 Electric Car / Vehicle Charging Point Installer course, which you can book on-line using our course page, alternatively if you would like to speak to a course adviser please call 01293 529777 or 0800 856448.

Categories: electric cars/vehicles, electric car/vehicle charging

Electrical lecturer ordained a deacon

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 20th July 2017

Andy Summers, an electrical lecturer/assessor at our Birchwood, Warrington site, has very kindly agreed to tell us his story of how his faith lead him to train as a deacon.

On the 1st July 2017 Bishop Mark Davies ordained Andy a new deacon for the Diocese of Shrewsbury during a Mass in Shrewsbury Cathedral. We are all very proud of Andy’s achievement and dedication to his faith and hope that you enjoy reading his story.

My story: The Reverend Andy Summers, Deacon.

In which parish are you involved?

St John Vianney in Northwich, Cheshire

What is your role?

My main role is to assist my parish priest Fr. Paul Standish during Mass where I can read the Gospel and give homilies (sermons) and distribute holy communion. My role also allows me to conduct baptisms, weddings and funerals and in fact only last Sunday I baptised two babies and am looking forward to conducting my first wedding service in September.

Why did you choose to be ordained?

I felt I could be of more service to the people of the parish as an ordained minister and take a more active role, for example, only a priest or deacon can read and then teach on the Gospel readings each week and this was an area where I felt I could contribute.

How and when did you know you were called to ministry?

I had become a member of the Catholic Church in 1985 after receiving my faith and spent several years travelling throughout Britain and Europe sharing my faith in schools and parishes using music and drama to bring the message of the Gospel in a way which was relevant to young people. I’d been a professional musician, I’m a drummer, and toured at home and abroad and was able to use that gift as a means of service for the Church. After meeting my wife Helen, I settled down and have spent the last few years bringing up a family, re-training as an electrician and then as a teacher and it was only when my daughter Elizabeth had become a teenager that I felt the call to train to become a deacon.

Drummer to Deacon

How would you describe your experience of being ordained?

Very humbling! The word deacon comes from the Greek word ‘Diakonia’ which means ‘to serve’. So I’m very aware of the responsibility that I now carry to be of service to everyone. The ordination ceremony was very special, a lot of my work colleagues were there to support me as well as family and friends.

What's the best thing about your entering the ministry?

The best thing about entering the ministry is to be of service to people, to proclaim and teach the Gospel and to be able to live out my faith in a way that benefits others.

What's the most challenging aspect of your role?

Making sure I get it right! There’s a lot of organisation involved in baptisms and weddings and I feel a little like a learner driver at the moment. I’m sure it’ll be alright. I would like people to feel that they could approach me. A deacon is usually a married man, so maybe people would feel they could talk to a deacon rather than to a priest in certain matters; that could be pretty challenging!

What has been the reaction of your family and work colleagues?

My daughter was horrified at the thought of me becoming a deacon five years ago, but now thinks it’s quite cool! My wife has been very supportive and so have my work colleagues both past and present, many were at the ordination along with my line manager Mike and his family. I’ve received a lot of good wishes from everyone at TS4U, my colleagues affectionally referring to me now as ‘The Rev!’.

Drummer to Deacon 2

What would your advice be for someone wanting to become a minister?

That’s a difficult one but I believe it is a call so it’s about being open and honest in your life to know where God is calling you personally. I received my faith over thirty years ago but it’s only been in the last five years that I’ve felt called to become a minister. You’ve just got to be open and follow your heart.

What is your current job role and how does this fit in with being a deacon?

I’m a lecturer/assessor at TS4U in Birchwood, Warrington. deacons unlike priests, don’t get paid so it’s a labour of love, so I’ll be fitting the duties around my job which means evenings and weekends will be the times I’ll be able to fully exercise the ministry.


We wish Andy (The Rev) the very best of luck in his new role and look forward to hearing how he gets on conducting his first wedding service in September.

A funny quote I found by Cardinal Richard Cushing was: The bishops will govern the Church, the priests will do all the work and the deacons will have all the fun.

Categories: deacon, ordainment

Have your say on the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2018)

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 18th July 2017

18th edition

Appeals for 18th Edition Feedback - Draft for Public Comment BS 7671:2018

Following the release of the Draft for Public Comment (DPC) for BS 7671:2018, the electrical industry is being given the opportunity to have their say and influence the content of the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations (BS7671).

The BS 7671 Wiring Regulations set out the standards for electrical installations in the UK as well as many other countries and is due to be published in July 2018 with the regulations coming into full effect in January 2019.

The Draft for Public Comment (DPC) is your chance to take a sneak peek at the proposed content ahead of publication, giving you the chance to put forward your views to the technical committee responsible for BS 7671 (JPEL/64).

How do I leave my comments?

If you feel that you have something to contribute to the draft BS7671 standard, you will need to visit the BSI webpage for the DPC and sign up with your email address to access the document.

Here you will be able to make your comments to each Regulation. You can leave and return to it at any time to make any changes, as long as you have saved your comments as you go, and have not yet submitted them. Once you have submitted them they cannot be amended or retracted. Only comments accompanied by a proposal for improvement/change can only be considered.

Once you are happy with your comments you can then submit them, ready for discussion by JPEL/64.

What happens next?

You have until 23rd August 2017 to submit your comments, after which time the DPC period closes and no more comments will be accepted. The relevant JPEL/64 sub-committees will then discuss all of the submitted comments over the ensuing months, making their final decisions before BS 7671:2018 is published, which is expected to be in July 2018 and installations will need to comply by January 2019.

The JPEL/64 sub-committees are:

JPEL/64/A – Verification

JPEL/64/B – Thermal Effects

JPEL/64/C – Shock Protection

JPEL/64/D – External Influences

A snap shot of changes

There are many changes contained in the DPC for BS7671.20:2018, which include sections that have been redrafted, completely revised sections, chapters and regulations, plus a new proposed energy efficiency section (Part 8).

Section 534 Devices for protection against overvoltage – This section has been completely revised. The most significant technical change refers to the selection requirements for the voltage protection level.

Chapter 53 Protection, isolation, switching, control and monitoring - This Chapter has been completely revised and deals with general requirements for isolation, switching, control and monitoring.

Part 6 Inspection and testing - This Part has been completely restructured with many chapters being moved to other more appropriate chapters.

Chapter 42 Protection against thermal effects – This section refers to a new Regulation 421.7 which has been introduced for the installation of arc fault detection devices (AFDDs) to mitigate the risk of fire in final circuits of a fixed installation due to the effect of arc fault currents.

Changes to Section 722 – Electric vehicle charging installations - This Section contains a significant change to Regulation 722.411.4.1 concerning the use of a PME supply, plus changes have been made to requirements for external influences, RCDs, socket-outlets and connectors.

New section – Part 8 Energy efficiency - The new Part 8 covers several energy efficient areas, such as lighting, metering, cable losses, transformer losses, power-factor correction, and harmonics.

What should you do if you don’t already have the C&G 2382 17th Edition qualification?

If you do not have the C&G 2382 qualification then you should still consider taking the 17th Edition exam. The new 18th Edition won’t come into effect until the 1 January 2019, which is a long time to operate without this formal qualification which is required to demonstrate competency on site. The C&G 2382-15 17th Edition course will cost you £470.00 which we believe is a relatively small investment to ensure that you are correctly qualified.

Key dates for the diary:

23 August 2017 – DPC closes

01 July 2018 – expected publish date for BS 7671:2018

01 January 2019 – BS7671:2018 is expected to come into effect

If you want to keep up to date on 18th edition developments please bookmark our 18th Edition Course page and keep checking for updates.

Categories: 18th edition wiring regulations, bs7671:2018

What is Lot 20 and how does it affect electricians?

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 5th July 2017


Lot 20 is a new Ecodesign legislation from the EU which affects electric space heating. This new legislation from the EU 2015/1188 is set to bring about the biggest shake up in electric space heating to-date.

From January 2018, all local space heaters manufactured for sale in the EU, which use electricity, gaseous or liquid fuels, will have to comply with a minimum efficiency standard under Lot 20 of the Energy Efficiency Directive. This includes electric radiators/panel heaters, electric and gas fires and electric underfloor heating.

The aim is to ensure that inefficient technologies are replaced with energy efficient products that aim to reduce the amount of energy used in our homes, thus helping to achieve our overall carbon reduction targets. This will be achieved by regulating the operation of local space heaters through the use of intelligent controls.

Manufacturers will be required to incorporate functions within their products, which may include temperature controls with day/week timers, presence detection, adaptive start control and distance control functions and open window detection, making products more sophisticated.

Heaters that fail to comply with the new legislation will not be able to be supplied or installed in EU member states, therefore, it is essential that all installers understand the implications of this new legislation.

This new legislation will mean that more energy efficient products will enter the market, operated via intelligent controls. The knock-on effect of this will mean that manufacturers of controllers and/or the components that make up these control systems will also need to increase the efficiency of their products.

The challenge for manufacturers of space heating products will be that the regulation also stipulates that these energy targets should be achieved without an increase in the purchasing and operating costs of the products.

What does it mean to the installer?

From 1st January 2018 installers of electric space heaters will need to ensure that the products they install comply with Lot 20. So, don’t be caught out by suppliers selling off their old stock at discounted prices!

The key to driving the efficiency of local space heaters is through the use of intelligent controls. Installers will be in a good position to specify the latest energy efficient products, and by using smart technologies that can help reduce running costs will give their customers confidence that they have a better quality product.

It will also present an opportunity for installers to re-engage with previous customers to inform them of the new legislation, giving them an opportunity to upgrade to the latest compliant products.


The EU is committed to achieving a 20 per cent energy saving by 2020 and to achieve this all member states, which include those that intend to leave, must continue to drive energy efficiency at all stages of the supply chain, from production to final consumption.

The EU commission recognises that local space heating represents a high proportion of energy usage and, therefore, is a key area for carbon emission reductions. This new legislation is designed to reduce energy consumption and for electric space heaters this will be achieved by only permitting their use when operated by advanced controls, improving their effective use and minimising wasted energy.

Categories: lot 20, eu 2015/1188, electric space heaters