Hofmann Megaplan Blog

Welcome to the Hofmann Megaplan blog. Check back regularly for news, product launches and events.

UK Businesses to Invest in 163,000 EVs This Year

A new study from Centrica Business Solutions has revealed that UK businesses are expected to invest in 163,000 electric vehicles (EVs) during the course of 2022 – a 35% increase on last year. The study found that businesses invested £11.6bn in EVs and associated infrastructure (like charging points) last year. This year, that number is set to rise 15% to £13.6bn.

Only the beginning
All indications are that this is only the start of an electric revolution, as businesses increasingly wave goodbye to petrol and diesel power in favour of the clean, green, zero-emission alternative. According to this study, 62% of businesses operating fleets expect them to be fully electric by 2026 - four years ahead of the UK’s ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars. And they’re putting their money where their mouth is, too, with 44% of businesses surveyed having added more EVs to their fleet in the last year. It’s not just cars that are being bought. Businesses are spending more on infrastructure to go with them; 48% of businesses surveyed have added EV charging points to their premises, and 36% are planning to add more over the next year.

Greg McKenna, Managing Director of Centrica Business Solutions, said: “The UK continues to make significant inroads towards achieving its electric vehicle ambitions and it’s encouraging to see UK businesses prioritising investment in the journey towards electrification over the next 12 months.

“Businesses will continue to play a vital role in achieving the UK’s green transport ambitions, but with a record number of EVs expected to enter the UK this year, we must ensure the supply of vehicles and wider charging infrastructure is robust enough to meet the demand.

“Combining energy technology such as solar panels and battery storage into the wider charging infrastructure will help harness renewables and reduce the demand on the grid during peak charging times.”

EV specialist tooling
Need to get your garage prepared for this new wave of EVs? You’ll find a whole range of EV specialist tooling at Hofmann Megaplan, along with other EV-specific equipment designed to make servicing zero-emission vehicles that much easier. Browse the full range online today.

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How do autonomous vehicles work?

Autonomous cars have been the stuff of science fiction for decades, but they’re now fast-becoming a reality. Although fully autonomous cars aren’t available to buy just yet, manufacturers like Tesla continue to push the envelope with self-driving systems that can cope with a variety of situations.

Wondering how these systems work? That’s exactly what we’re going to investigate in this article.

Hardware and software
Autonomous vehicles rely on advanced hardware and software systems, each of which have to talk to one another multiple times a second to keep the car on the road. It all starts on the outside of the car, which is littered with hidden laser and radar sensors and cameras.

Neatly installed into the vehicle’s bodywork, these sensors don’t affect the looks of the car - they still look just like any other roadgoing vehicle. They may be virtually imperceptible, but these sensors and cameras work overtime to build an accurate 3D picture of the car’s surroundings. And they don’t just map out what’s in front, but what’s beside and to the rear of the vehicle.

This mass of information is then relayed to the car’s software system, which interprets the data and provides accelerator, brake and steering inputs as required.

Levels of autonomy
Not every self-driving car is fully autonomous - in fact, none of the current commercially available models are. The level of autonomy each model offers is categorised into one of the following levels, with most currently sitting no higher than level 2 or 3.

  • Level 0: A completely human-controlled vehicle.
  • Level 1: Autonomy is limited to certain systems, like cruise control or emergency braking.
  • Level 2: The car can accelerate, brake or steer itself, but humans will still need to intervene when prompted.
  • Level 3: The car can detect hazards and mostly drive itself, but not in every situation.
  • Level 4: Under most circumstances, the vehicle can drive itself. Humans will still have the option of stepping in if required.
  • Level 5: Fully autonomous, with no human input required.

How far off are fully autonomous vehicles?
Although current hardware is capable of facilitating full automation, software is the bottleneck; manufacturers and tech companies have been working on it for many years, but it’s still some way off being ready for the mass market. Tesla’s Elon Musk has said he expects the company to be offering Level 4 autonomous vehicles by the end of the year, although he has been inaccurate with his claims in the past. Time will tell whether he’s right this time around.

How will garages adapt?
As more and more semi-autonomous (or self-driving) vehicles hit the roads of Britain, garages and body shops will have to adapt to the new technology. We’re making that possible at Hofmann Megaplan with our ADAS diagnostics systems, which allow the aftermarket sector to diagnose and rectify issues with radar and camera systems. Find out more about them today or contact us to learn more.

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DVSA Pledges to Investigate MOT Fraud

The DVSA intends to double down on MOT fraud, its latest business plan report has confirmed.

With over 1,300 confirmed cases of MOT fraud recorded last year, the organisation is well aware of the issue - and says it plans to use ‘intelligence-based targeting’ to track the movements of vehicles. By employing this technology, the DVSA hopes to catch out garages issuing MOT tests to vehicles that haven’t even visited the garage.

“We will increase our capability and capacity to investigate serious fraud and criminal activity by using advanced technology surveillance equipment and associated data processes for MOT surveillance, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA),” states the report.

This year, it plans to prosecute 10% more MOT fraud cases than last year, targeting the companies that - in its words - ‘choose not to do things right.’

Strong opposition to biennial MOT proposals

In other MOT-related news, a petition against proposals to make the now-annual test a biennial requirement - in response to the current cost of living crisis - has been gathering steam. It emerged a number of weeks ago that the government was considering reducing the frequency of MOT tests to help ease the burden on families and individuals suffering due to high energy and fuel bills. The idea was met with criticism from road safety experts and garage owners, not least Stephen Browne of Meadowfield AutoCentre in Newcastle Upon Tyne, the man behind the petition.

“If this gets through and the frequency is extended to every two years, I would have to sack a member of staff immediately and then I’d need to put all my prices up," Stephen said, speaking to Garage Wire.

“How you can call this a saving to customers, I don’t know. Realistically, an MOT tester can only go six months without doing an MOT before they’re no longer an MOT tester and then they’d need a demonstration test for the DVSA before they can start testing again. There'll be no testing stations left by the time these vehicles will need an MOT again. People will lose their jobs, MOT testing stations will close and then there will be a backlog in two years’ time when everyone needs an MOT again. In these situations, everyone assumes somebody’s going to do something but then nobody does anything. Then we all shake our fists and say this should never have happened. I just want to show our strength and raise these very real risks – if we can all sing from the same hymn sheet, our argument is so much stronger.”

At the time of writing, the change.org petition had attracted just over of 7,000 signatures.

MOT/ATL equipment

Looking for industry-leading MOT/ATL equipment for your garage? Look no further than Hofmann Megaplan. Browse our range today.

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Why not come along and meet us at the UK Garage and Bodyshop Event 8th-9th June!

GARAGE SHOW ISN

We will be showcasing the latest machines from Hofmann Megplan, hosting 1-2-1 demonstrations and we’ll be available to answer any questions you may have.

You can expect a whole host of benefits this June at the one-of-a-kind UK Garage and Bodyshop Event, including free breakfast to those arriving before 10am and *free parking, to name a few. Kickstarting on 8-9th June at the NEC in Birmingham, the free-to-register, national event is open to the entire industry, and after the past two years, we would love to meet you in person once again.

The UK Garage and Bodyshop Event has been designed to put the technician firmly in the driving seat and to help futureproof the automotive aftermarket, with over 65 live training sessions available, delivered from more than 45 of the industry’s established and well-known professionals This includes exclusive, free expert training for EV, bodyshop and workshops covering skills, recruitment, digitalisation, infrastructure, customer service and how to improve everyday efficiencies.

Grant Elrick, sales director at Messe Frankfurt UK, organisers of the exhibition, said: “Garage and Bodyshop technicians play an integral role in not only keeping the automotive aftermarket surviving and thriving, but also in helping to ensure the UK roads are as safe and secure as possible. “This event will be a celebration of the entire industry and its hard work, which is why it will be jam-packed with happy hours, entertainment surprises, and the latest in technical training, trends and product updates. The wheels are now firmly in motion, with over 3,000 in-person attendees expected through the doors in June – we look forward to seeing you there!”

Free tickets are available to the show here.

*Free parking will be available to garage and bodyshop owners, technicians, and apprentices, with vouchers being sent via email. 

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‘It Is Time to Scale Up MOT Capacity,’ Says BookMyGarage

Now is the perfect time to scale up your MOT offering - or begin testing for the first time. That’s according to new research from BookMyGarage.

The company recently published the results of a freedom of information (FOI) request it submitted to the DVSA for data on monthly MOT figures.

According to the data it received in return, garages look set to experience another lull in MOT testing demand this spring - a consequence of the six-month extension put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Last April and May, 2.3 million fewer MOT tests took place than during the same period in 2019 - suggesting that the peaks and troughs in demand will continue into the future.

The time to invest

Based on this new information, BookMyGarage has suggested that now is the time to scale up MOT provisions in readiness for a spike in demand in September and October.

Karen Rotberg, co-founder of BookMyGarage, said: “There’s never been a better time to adapt fast by increasing market share and gaining conquest bookings – the months ahead will once again see historically low MOT numbers, yet garages can battle this shortfall by offering consumers the added transparency and convenience of a digital customer journey.

“April and May will be tough months because as well as fewer MOTs, there will be less servicing work. In fact, our research shows that nearly 70% of drivers aim to have their vehicle serviced when they get their MOT. Losing this opportunity instead of gaining ground lost to fast-fits or other rivals could deal a significant blow to any garage.”

“With a post-summer rush in sight before long, it is the time to scale up capacity ahead of the busy September to December period. While this year will be highly backloaded, garages can act and adapt now.”

Explore our range of ATL MOT equipment

Whatever your MOT equipment needs, Hofmann Megaplan has the product to suit. Our expansive ATL MOT equipment range has been built to last and perform consistently, day in, day out.

If you’re looking to get into MOT testing for the first time, we can also provide tailored, hands on support to help you get up to speed in no time. Learn more about what we do today.

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Pace of EV growth 'phenomenal,' says Fleet Alliance MD

As Britain edges closer to 2030 - and to the ban on new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles being sold - the Managing Director of Fleet Alliance says that EV takeup has been ‘phenomenal.’

Martin Brown, who heads up the fleet management company, said in an interview with Fleet Management Weekly that he believed infrastructure growth was also on track.

“While it’s slightly daunting to look and see the deadline is being so close, the pace of EV growth in the UK has been phenomenal,” he said. “I’m actually quite optimistic despite news coverage about a lack of infrastructure. I believe that infrastructure is now growing at a pace.

“The issues that we had 12 months ago aren’t the issues that we have today. Range anxiety is lessening as the range of the vehicles improves, and I think that some players like Tesla have played a big part in fostering EV growth.

“If you told me 12 months ago that we’d see this level of growth, I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet, despite fewer business miles being driven in the past year, that change might be a better fit for electric vehicles.

“Lower mileage and shorter journeys mean that it’s easier to get the electric vehicle uptake in. It also takes away some of the range anxiety concerns. We are finding that people are less likely to travel on public transport, so we might have more people taking a car rather than taking the train and the bus.

“Overall, the market has yet to settle down, and I don’t think we know how it’s going to look in maybe 24 or 36 months.”

What does this mean for workshops?

Martin’s comments will certainly bring comfort to early EV adopters, but what about garage owners? Change is most certainly afoot, and as fleets begin to order EVs by the boatload, mechanics will soon be expected to work on them on a regular basis. Investing in the appropriate training and specialist EV servicing equipment now should pay off in the years to come.

 
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Hofmann Megaplan offers advice about how to make the most of your tax allowance as a garage

Did you know your business could benefit from significant capital allowance measures?
 
1. Annual Investment Allowance (AIA)
Introduced in 2008, AIA is an allowance for tools and equipment which allows a business write off 100% of qualifying capital expenditure against taxable profits for the same period. AIA is an incentive for a business to invest because it accelerates the tax relief available in the year of purchase, rather than over several years, helping cash flow and enhancing business growth.
 
2. Super-deduction
The super-deduction tax break was introduced in the 2021 budget. It allows you to claim 130% of what you spend on qualifying equipment for your business against taxable profits until 31 March 2023. Super-deduction provides 25p off company tax bills for every pound of qualifying spending on plant and machinery.
 
What else can you benefit from?
In addition to AIA and the super-deduction you can also access the new 50% first-year Allowance and benefit from the Structures & Building Allowance for investments until 30 September 2026. Click here for more information.
 
What are the potential savings?
Depending on your expenditure on tools and garage machinery you could claim up to 130% against your taxable profit. For example, if you spend £10,000 on qualifying tools and garage machinery, your company can deduct £13,000.
 
 
Speak to us today...
If you are looking to grow your garage business in 2022 you could benefit from one or more of the capital allowances available to you. At Hofmann Megaplan, we want to support your decision making by offering you sound advice and a bespoke approach to machine purchases and garage enhancements tailored to your needs and budget.
 
You can explore the full range of Hofmann Megaplan machinery on our website or call us on 01480 8-9-10-11 today. Alternatively, leave your details on this form and a Hofmann Megaplan consultant will call you back.
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2030 Petrol and Diesel Car Ban: What Does It Mean For Workshops?

2030 might seem a while away, but before too long it’ll be upon us - and all of the brand-new petrol and diesel models we’re so used to seeing in 2022 will disappear from new car showrooms for good.

This obviously has serious implications for the car manufacturing industry (and for supplying dealerships), but what about the nation’s independent garages and workshops? How will they cope - and will it actually affect their day-to-day operations much?

Staff shortages

The first potential bump in the road for independent garages is manpower (or lack thereof). A recent study by the Motor Ombudsman indicated that garages are struggling to find staff with EV experience - or find the time and money to send them on appropriate training courses.

38% of those asked said that they only had a limited number of people on their books trained to work on EVs, which could make the going tough as more and more Electric and Hybrid vehicles roll into the workshop.

Over the next few years, garage owners will need to set time and money aside to train their staff on EV-specific servicing and repair techniques. If they don’t, they may find their regular work diminishing post-2030.

Access to EV servicing equipment

The myriad of technical differences between EVs and internal combustion-powered vehicles means that specialist equipment and tooling is required to maintain them. Most workshops don’t currently have this equipment in their arsenal, but now is a great time to invest; EV sales are accelerating rapidly year-on-year, so the sooner you’re able to work on them, the better.

At Hofmann Megaplan, we have a range of specialist equipment to cater for every EV need, from specially designed vehicle and battery lifts to hand tools. Explore our full range of EV servicing equipment online today and kit your workshop out in readiness for 2030.

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Charging Point Availability Lagging Behind EV Sales, SMMT Says

A study by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has indicated that EV charging point installations are failing to keep up with the rising demand for the vehicles themselves.

According to the organisation, the ratio of charging points to EVs fell by 31% in 2020; at the end of 2019, there were 11 vehicles to one charger on average, while in 2020 there were 16 vehicles to every charging point.

This situation isn’t likely to improve any time soon, as one in six new cars registered in 2021 were electric - a proportion that’s likely to increase sharply in the run up to the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles.

The SMMT’s analysis also revealed the most EV-friendly (and unfriendly) areas of the UK. Perhaps unsurprisingly, London took the joint top spot, with just ten cars per charging point - a figure matched by the North East. Wales fared well too (12:1), with Northern Ireland and Scotland following closely behind (17:1).

The worst-performing areas in terms of charging point availability, the North West and East of England, were found to have 49 cars to every charging point.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented: “Appetite for electric vehicles has never been higher, but making Britain a net zero nation means convincing everyone, wherever they live, that an electric car can meet their needs. Those who can’t have their own home charge point need the confidence that they can still charge as conveniently as they can refuel. A deteriorating ratio of public charge points to cars will drain that confidence.

“Recent Government funding for infrastructure was welcome but more private sector investment in public charge points is needed across the country. The UK therefore needs a framework of regulation that makes it easier to fund, build and operate electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Consequently we need commensurate and binding targets for charge point rollout and reliability so that all those without a driveway or designated parking can be confident of finding a convenient charger, and one that works.

“Decarbonising road transport is essential if we are to address climate change but it needs a framework that compels all sectors to match the investment already being made by automotive to help consumers decarbonise their lives.”

Explore our full range of EV servicing equipment online today.

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UK Used Car Prices Still On The Up, Highest In Europe

As 2021 drew to a close, used car prices in Britain were showing no signs of levelling out. According to the latest figures from Motors.co.uk, average prices for the 50 most popular models rose another 4.7% in November - that’s £729 on average.

Independent car dealerships put their prices up most according to the data (9.2%), while car supermarkets and franchised dealers increased average prices by 2.7% and 2.3% respectively.Motors.co.uk reported that the top seller was Vauxhall’s Corsa, perhaps no surprise as it’s consistently one of the best-selling new cars too. On average, Corsa’s spent just over 11 days on dealership forecourts before they were snapped up.

The pandemic sparked the price rises, which began midway through 2020. A worldwide semiconductor shortage affected new car availability and forced many to shop for a used car, leading to unprecedented demand. Used vehicle prices are high across Europe, but figures from Indicata suggest that here in Britain they’re the highest of all. According to its research, used car values here rose a further 28% in 2021, on top of the rises already seen in 2020.

“This current market trend of demand exceeding supply looks set to continue into the back end of 2022,” said Indicata Group Sales Director, Jon Mitchell. “Both the wholesale and retail markets have got to get used to prices at this level being the new normal.

“Stock levels show no sign of improving which guarantees prices will remain strong. There are restricted numbers of part exchanges coming into the market and a vast number of leasing contracts continue to be extended until such time as new car supplies improve.”

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New 'Head of Wheel Alignment & ADAS' at ISN Garage Assist

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We are delighted to announce the appointment of Chris Jones as Head of Wheel Alignment & ADAS for the ISN team, looking after all aspects of product and customer development and support for our Atlas, Atlas Platinum and Hofmann Megaplan brands. Chris joined as a fresh-faced youngster more years ago than he would probably like us to mention 🙂 but in that time has evolved into what we believe is one of the industry's most knowledgeable and conscientious alignment & ADAS specialists.

Chris and his wife recently became parents for the first time and can be seen here pictured during a recent visit to our Italian factory. Sadly, Chris is an avid, if not slightly obsessed, Liverpool fan. However, we have never held that against him and we wish him all the very best in his new role.

If you would like to learn more about ADAS and even speak to the man himself, visit our website today http://ow.ly/ujvq50HVJpn to register your interest.

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The UK & EU’s proposed dates for banning all new petrol & diesel car sales.

As we all know, Electric Vehicles (EVs) are the hot topic within the automotive industry at the moment and that isn’t going to change anytime soon – in fact, there are quite a few areas of interest for many professionals following EV development...and the dates of when all new petrol and diesel car sales will be banned is a key area!

The UK government announced some time ago that there are already (ambitious) plans in place to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel car sales by 2030, which caused immediate concerns for garage owners and mechanics alike, relating to how that will change the face of automotive aftersales service moving forwards. One in four UK households, equating to 6.5million, plan to buy an EV in the next five years but due to the lack of consumer confidence in battery life and charging facilities, there is still a long way to go.

The European Union has announced the proposed date of 2035 for the ban on sale of all new petrol and diesel cars – including hybrids – with 55% vehicular CO2 emissions decrease from current levels by 2030. This comes as part of a package of measures outlined by the EU to help with the development of the EV rollout.

It’s clear that car manufacturers are using these dates to continue the development and progression of their EV ranges, however garages are yet to take the plunge into investing for the future (even though we are seeing more and more EVs on the roads in the UK!).

Taking the plunge into EV servicing...

It’s not unusual for independent garage operators to be hesitant about investing in new equipment. At Hofmann Megaplan we saw the same trend when ADAS diagnostics were first introduced...

However, many garages are now reaping the benefits of ADAS servicing and the select few businesses that become ‘early adopters’ and turn their hand to EV services first, will establish themselves as the local leaders for Electric Vehicle maintenance. It would be hard for any consumer to think of going anywhere else!

Our brand new range of EV servicing equipment will have you covered:

Check out our full range of EV equipment online today or call our team on 01480 8-9-10-11 to discuss in more detail.

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If you are stuck in an Electric Vehicle, in traffic for an hour, how long will it take for the battery to drain?

This is a genuine problem the automotive industry currently faces and the battery life of Electric Vehicles (EVs) has been in the spotlight over the last couple of months, as this is one of the main reasons there is a lack of consumer confidence.

Electric cars are still relatively new and everyone is just starting to find out a little bit more of what to expect from them in the future.

However, it isn’t just consumers that have potential issues about the longevity of EVs. Automotive professionals from garage owners to mechanics, and even parliamentary personnel, have all been raising concerns about the lack of charging stations, battery life and a lack of EV knowledge when it comes to maintenance and servicing.

So...have you ever wondered what would happen if you’re stuck in a five-mile traffic jam with an electric car that doesn’t have a full charge?

EV battery life simulation by Which?...

File:Volkswagen ID.4.png - Wikimedia CommonsConsumer advocacy group Which? has attempted to address concerns that an EV’s battery would drain rather quickly if the driver used the air conditioning, heated seats, and other options while stuck in traffic.

To help with consumer confidence, Which? used the latest Volkswagen ID.4 electric and through conducting the simulation of being at a standstill for an hour with the lights on, changing the cabin temperature, streaming music, and watching films on rear-seat screens had only a little influence on energy consumption, resulting in a loss of only 2% capacity, or eight miles of range.

The test was conducted with music being streamed through the Android Auto system embedded into the infotainment system to see how battery capacity was affected by the vehicle remaining stationary.

Both front heated seats were also set to the highest temperature, the air conditioning was on full blast, the dipped headlights were turned on and a tablet was plugged into a USB connector in the back seats was playing a movie.

The VW’s battery only lost 2% of its 77kWh capacity after just over an hour and 15 minutes, equating to only eight miles of range.

Which? did note, however, that its controlled test was conducted on a hot day, and that cold temperatures will have a greater impact on the car’s power consumption and said that they would conduct a similar test during the winter.

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MOT Testing: A million MOTs each month for the remainder of 2021!

Despite the calls from the DVSA for vehicle owners to bring forward their MOT to the Spring of 2021, it seems the backlog for MOT testing could exceed one million MOTs per month for the rest of the year, thanks to the MOT exemption.

During the months of March to July 2020, a decrease of over 5.3 million MOT tests was seen compared to the same period in 2019.

A year on from one of the craziest years of most of our lives, MOT tests have resumed, and companies such as Continental Tyres are predicting huge increases in testing throughout some of the Autumn and Winter months:

  • 23% in September
  • 42% in November
  • 51% in December

Tracey Mortimer, Continental Tyres consumer sales director UK, said: “Traditionally, there is a fairly consistent demand for MOT testing across the year. For example, between three and 3.5 million MOTs were conducted each month during 2018 and 2019, with only slight peaks in demand in March and September linked to new car registrations, and a slight dip in tests in December.

“The postponements to millions of MOTs in 2020 has now created a new seasonal demand curve, which is likely to take over 10 years to return to pre-2020 levels.”

Preparation for UK garages...

Workshops across the UK are beginning to think about how they can prepare for an incredible increase in demand for MOT servicing, without overwhelming their staff or their garage equipment.

Although the automotive industry has seen numerous increases in servicing demand over the past 12 months, many garages have not made the necessary steps to future proof their equipment, services or their business’ future – and now they are starting to feel the pressure. For some business owners, this is a step into the unknown but this increase could be too much for their services to handle; MOT equipment breakdowns and staff exhaustion are two key areas that will need to be carefully considered leading up to this vital point in the year.

Unfortunately, we at Hofmann Megaplan can’t manage your staff for you – however, our specialist MOT division can help you increase the efficiency of your MOT services, whilst providing expert MOT equipment.

Find out more online at https://www.hofmann-megaplan.co.uk/products/atl-mot or call our team on 01480 8-9-10-11 to discuss your requirements.

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EV skills gap for service & maintenance is a cause for concern!

The latest concern for the government, garages and consumers across the UK surrounding Electric Vehicles (EVs), is the lack of skills to perform servicing, maintenance and repair on these vehicles moving forward.

Despite the pressures placed on car manufacturers to achieve the 2030 ambitions set by the government, there seems to be no thought about the aftermarket for EVs and how garages will be able to upskill their workforce to cope with the demand.

According to the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), at the end of 2020 only 6.5% of the automotive sector was EV-ready – the IMI reported that this is leading to a lack in consumer confidence and a key reason why not everyone is convinced about the viability of EVs.

Despite this, the latest SMMT data reveals that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounted for more than one in 10 (10.7%) new car registrations in June 2021, followed by 8.7% for traditional hybrids and 6.5% for plug-in-hybrids.

So, with consumers seemingly turning to a greener form of transport in recent months, what is the plan to get the UK garage workforce up to speed with EVs?

Time to ramp up EV skills training...

Although the evidence and need for training & upskilling the current UK garage workforce is obvious, putting the relevant training in place is going to be huge task.

IMI CEO Steve Nash commented: “The fact that our analysis shows such a big deficit in the EV skilled workforce should ring alarm bells for government, with its big ambitions for 2030. The recent House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report into the transition to zero-emission vehicles highlighted the need to train and retrain the workforce required to service the new car fleet. But highlighting the need and actually committing to investment in the upskilling are two very different things. And the current skills gap right across the UK economy, exacerbated by a combination of Covid-19 and Brexit is adding a further dimension to the challenge.”

The institute also added that for all those who are likely to work on EVs, the relevant training must be addressed as a matter of urgency, regardless of whether they are service and repair technicians or those working in the roadside recovery and blue light sectors.

EV servicing equipment to put your garage on the map!

If you are looking to get your EV servicing off to a great start, sourcing the right garage equipment is a necessary investment – here at Hofmann Megaplan, we can get your garage kitted out for every EV eventually.

Visit our full range of EV equipment online today or call our team on 01480 8-9-10-11 for more information on how we can help.

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DVSA advises vehicle owners to bring forward their MOT test!

Install Montage Extended

As expected, the MOT exemption put in place last year to aid vehicle owners is set to cause even more havoc this year – specifically, this Autumn. MOTs are predicted to surge once again throughout the Autumn months of August, September and October, in line with the rise from 2020.

Since the beginning of 2021, the DVSA has been urging vehicle owners who have an MOT due in August, September, October or November this year, to bring it forward into the months of April, May, June or July.

A DVSA spokesperson said:

“Last year we issued exemptions to help keep industry moving during the pandemic.

“As a result, test dates are not evenly spread throughout the year and August, September, October and November are significantly busier than usual.

“For peace of mind, we are advising vehicle owners with test dates in August, September, October and November to bring their vehicle in for test during May, June or July instead, to avoid the busier months.”

Has it worked?

It would appear not.

Despite calls from the aftermarket for more visibility of the advice, the DVSA failed to encourage vehicle owners to bring forward their MOTs this Spring – leading to another expected sharp rise in MOT services this Autumn.

Make sure your garage is ready for this Autumn...

Talk to the experts to see how we can help you deal with the expected demand (especially if you only managed to scrape by last Autumn).

The fully qualified MOT team at Hofmann Megaplan have been busy installing brand new MOT bays throughout lockdown as many garage owners seized the opportunity and made sure their equipment is up to scratch and ready to cope with the expected increase in demand.

Is it about time you did the same?

Check out our specialist MOT division online now or call our team on 01480 8-9-10-11.

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NewMotion’s EV Driver Survey: What can the industry learn about consumer attitudes towards EVs?

Covering five different countries, including France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK, and speaking to more than 10,000 Electric Vehicle (EV) drivers from across those countries, NewMotion’s EV Driver Survey is said to be the largest and most comprehensive in the industry to date...and you could learn so much from it!

Garage owners and mechanics alike are starting to think about EV equipment and asking the questions:

  • What do consumers think of EVs?
  • What access do EV drivers currently have to charging stations?
  • What are consumers expectations for the future?

This information is readily available for you to download now, just visit NewMotion by clicking here.

So, what are Hofmann Megaplan’s key takeaways from this survey?

3 Key Takeaways...

  1. Breadth and diversity emerging among EV drivers across all countries.

The survey indicates that there is no ‘average’ EV driver and urges the market to not think there is a single profile for what an EV driver looks like.

Two-thirds were aged 25-54, in the central section of their working lives. Drivers in the UK were particularly young, with 16% of them under 25, while Belgium had the strongest take-up among over-65s, at 17%.

  1. Drivers want more, faster, interoperable charge points

Two improvements to the charging experience for EV drivers were particularly popular; better and faster availability of public charging points, and charge point interoperability.

Better availability of public charge points came out strongly overall, with 48% choosing it – and 43% in the UK. This was beaten on average by faster EV charging, which was at the top of the list for 52% of drivers overall but only 41% for the UK.

Next in line is charge point interoperability, with 36% wanting a single charge card for every public charge point (28% in the UK).

  1. Financial benefits beaten by environmental reasons for consumers choosing an EV

The research also found that drivers are increasingly choosing electric vehicles for eco reasons rather than financial; a total of 58% of drivers across all markets said they had opted for an EV for sustainability reasons versus 34% for financial reasons.

Interestingly, the gap between the two was closer in France and the UK; in both markets 31% of respondents said eco reasons ranked highest, with 21% of French EV drivers selecting financial reasons and 18% of UK drivers.

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Automated Lane Keeping Assistance: the next step for ADAS!

ADAS has been a constant source of development over the past few years and due to the recent announcement on Automated Lane Keeping Assistance (ALKS), it seems there are no signs of it slowing down.

The government has announced that self-driving cars could be allowed on UK motorways by the end of 2021, with the Department for Transport confirming that ALKS will be the first type of hands-free driving to be legalised, with speeds limited to 37mph.

Before ALKS will be allowed to grace the UK roads however, these systems must meet four non-negotiable criteria:

  • Without causing an incident, the vehicle must have the capability to safely change lanes.
  • The vehicle must have the capability to safely pull over to the side of the road.
  • The systems on the vehicle must be able to recognise UK road signs.
  • Data must be made available remotely through a neutral server for any incident to verify who was in charge at the time of the incident.

Although the announcement has been met with some scepticism over safety (this is in relation to the fact that drivers will still need to be alert and prepared to take over controls within 10 seconds), ALKS is currently going through each stage of development and represents the future of self-driving vehicles.

So, where does that leave businesses within the automotive aftermarket?

What does that mean for your garage?

As mentioned in our previous blog, the need for ADAS calibration is increasing across the UK. With an ever-growing number of ADAS systems being fitted to vehicles, it can only mean that if you don’t offer these vital calibrations, your garage will be left behind.

Ensuring you invest in a high-quality ADAS systems is a must, alongside the specialist training for every employee that will be conducting ADAS diagnostics.

Hofmann Megaplan has the perfect digital solution for any garage looking to offer ADAS! View online now or call our team on 01480 8-9-10-11 for more information.

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Analogue or Digital ADAS? – Hofmann Megaplan explains the difference

The perfect Digital ADAS solution installed at the Artis Accident Repair Centre.

For many independent garage owners, ADAS can appear a quite daunting technological advance. But in reality, it’s little more than a camera system, often mounted in the windscreen, monitoring short to medium range activities such as changing speed limits, or white lines; and a radar system, located in the front grill area, managing active cruise control and emergency braking systems.

If, for example, a frontal impact misaligns the radar unit, or the camera is slightly repositioned when a windscreen is replaced, it’s possible that the ADAS systems won’t work correctly. This is where ADAS alignment systems come in and, it’s where some garages have embraced the opportunity, invested in equipment and are making money.

ADAS Equipment up close...

ADAS alignment rigs are typically made up of a large frame and a diagnostic tool; allowing the user to test and re-align the camera and radar systems as necessary. These are split into two main categories; Analogue and Digital. Hofmann Megaplan has been at the forefront of ADAS alignment equipment since the very early days.

Analogue ADAS Unit

Analogue systems require less initial investment than digital but are designed to get the job done all the same. By not being overly reliant on new technologies they are a highly reliable, albeit manual system, suitable for all garages. Analogue systems require pre-printed boards which are applied to the framework in front of the car to show the test pattern for calibrating the camera systems. The framework needs to be accurately positioned to ensure the pattern on the board is properly aligned to the car, which can be time-consuming. Once set up, the diagnostic tool then communicates with the vehicle’s computers, putting them into calibration mode and effectively teaching the vehicle where it should be looking.

With so many different vehicle marques in the UK, many with their own design of calibration boards, purchasing and storing these boards and protecting them from damage can be an expensive challenge associated with analogue systems.

Digital ADAS System

The digital system does away with the need for physical boards, reproducing the image of a pattern board on a large-scale high-definition monitor. A PC manages the images and communicates with a handheld diagnostic tool which, step by step, guides the user through the process to check and re-align the cameras.

Because the patterns are created digitally, they make setting up and calibrating easier and faster than the analogue counterpart. The frame can be raised or lowered at the press of a button to reach the perfect height and no manual measurement is required. Laser measurement units accurately show the exact frame to axle distance and the system uses these figures to ensure the vehicle sees a perfectly aligned image, even if the frame has not been set exactly true with the vehicle.

Which system works best is a matter of personal choice and circumstance but if you’re considering extending your garage services, you should consider ADAS alignment. These systems have been in use in vehicles for many years now and there’s a real opportunity for independent garages outside of franchised dealerships.

Contact Hofmann Megaplan online today or call 01480 8-9-10-11 for more information

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Increase in light commercial vehicle registrations leads to concern of available garage services!

Light commercial vehicle registrations have increased but there is concern over the lack of services availability.There is no denying that the automotive industry as we know it is changing – developments in technology, fewer passenger cars on the roads due to flexible working, and now, the highest-ever total of van registrations in the month of April since records began.

A grand total of 30,440 vans were registered in April 2021 (23.2% up on the 5-year average), taking the sector back to the same levels of registration as they were in 2019, before the pandemic was announced. The huge uptake of vans supports the growth of the LCV sector, showing signs that business owners are more optimistic and confident in the current and future economic situation.

There is a feeling amongst the industry that many garages are ill-equipped to deal with LCV’s, including tyre fitting, bodywork and specialist internal work.

A change in direction for garage owners?

For many garage owners, it’s difficult to consider change, which could lead to an uncertain future for their business. With so many new areas of servicing to consider, it can be difficult to prioritise one over the other.

The demand for light commercial vehicle servicing is clear. With even more vans on the roads, a focus on LCV repair and maintenance could lead some garages down the road to commercial success with light commercial vehicle services. The next step for any business owner brave enough is to ensure their team are fully equipped with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed, including investing in specialist equipment and signing up to CPD training.

Take a leap, choose the right LCV equipment for your services...

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