Hofmann Megaplan Blog

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

New Run-Flat Tyre Fitting Standard from ISN Garage Assist

Tyre changer and wheel balancer specialists, ISN Garage Assist, have recently introduced a new standard for tyre fitting technology, to ensure that anybody investing in a piece of equipment really does get what they pay for. ARC (Absolute Run-Flat Compatibility) is a test for performance and capability based on what are commonly regarded as the toughest tyres to handle for tyre technicians. The company acquired a sample of run-flat tyres from a selection of leading tyre manufacturers, and put their machines to test to ensure that all models that claim total run-flat compatibility, can actually live up to the claim.

"There are obviously a huge number of budget tyre changers coming out of the Far East now, and many include accessories which are purely low-cost copies of something an Italian manufacturer has developed", comments ISN Garage Assists MD, James Boon. "We know that some of these fail to handle some of the tougher tyre technology, and so we wanted to ensure that, when somebody buys a tyre machine from us, they can feel confident it is going to stand up to the task".

The tests, which are fully traceable through videos and documentation, resulted in a 2-Tier standard, namely ARC, and ARC+.

"ARC depicts that the machine will handle every run-flat tyre thrown at it", continues James, "whilst ARC +, which applies to some of our more automated or higher-spec models, comes with an even higher degree of ease and speed, effectively the Gold Standard for anyone wanting to own a high performance tyre changer".

ISN Garage Assist are arguably the UK's leading garage equipment supplier, and certainly a market leader through their ubiquitous Hofmann Megaplan and Balco brands.

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What is a CCD wheel aligner? An introductory guide

If you’re shopping for a wheel alignment machine, you’ll likely have come across terms like 3D and CCD. But what separates these high-tech models from more traditional laser systems? If you’re struggling to decide which type is right for you, we’re here to help.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at CCD wheel aligners - and what sets them apart from laser and 3D machines.

CCD wheel aligners: what are they and how do they work?

CCD stands for Charged Coupled Device. Instead of using light beams (like traditional laser alignment systems), CCD models utilise advanced camera technology to deliver pinpoint accuracy in seconds.

From a user’s point of view, they work similarly to laser aligners. Four measuring heads are included, one for each wheel, which are quickly and easily clamped onto the face of the rim.

CCD aligners are nothing new - they’ve been around since the early 1990s, in fact. In this time, they’ve significantly grown in popularity. Why? They offer a number of notable advantages over laser systems…

The advantages of a CCD aligner

  • While it’s possible to get great results with laser aligners, they’re very labour intensive. A basic laser system will measure front tracking, but you have to reverse the laser to measure the rear. Additionally, you’ll need an extra manual gauge to measure caster and camber. None of this is a problem for a CCD aligner.
  • Accuracy: Much like 3D wheel aligners, CCD machines deliver incredible precision - the kind of precision you simply can’t achieve with a traditional laser wheel alignment system. If you’re serious about wheel alignment, a CCD machine is well worth the investment.
  • Speed: CCD systems are arguably the fastest and easiest to set up of the three rival technologies. If you know what you’re doing, you can boot up the system and attach the sensors to the car in less than five minutes. 
  • Flexibility: Unlike most other systems, CCD aligners are portable and can be used on any lift, then they can be rolled out of the way when they’re not needed - or easily transported from lift to lift, as and when required. By contrast, many 3D systems have to be securely fixed in position in front of a lift. 
  • Two-post lift compatible: Don’t have a four-post lift but want to offer wheel alignment services? With a Hofmann Megaplan CCD wheel aligner, you can use your two-post lift

Explore our range online today

Now you know a little more about CCD aligners, why not explore our complete range of alignment machines to find one that’s right for you? If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

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What is ADAS? Your Essential Guide

Cars today are safe. Extremely safe. But occasionally, they’re still let down by those in control of them. Yes, we humans are pretty smart - but we can and will make mistakes. Driving, sadly, isn’t an exception to this rule, with lives being lost every day due to accidents caused by human error. In fact, according to the road safety organisation ORSA, 94% of collisions occur as a result of human error. 

What can we do to bring that number down? ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) are the latest innovation designed to do exactly that. They’ve been around for a while now in high-end cars, but the technology has gradually trickled down to more affordable models. Today, ADAS tech is commonplace - and it’s leading the fight against road accident injuries and fatalities. 

What is it and how does it work?

ADAS is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of different systems, which we’ll outline below. Nevertheless, all ADAS systems function in a similar way, using a barrage of cameras and sensors (including radar, LIDAR and ultrasound) to build an accurate real-time picture of the environment around the car.

Advanced onboard computers process this data hundreds of times every second, identifying and categorising objects as they’re detected. If the driver fails to notice or react to a hazard, the ADAS systems then work in harmony to intervene, keeping the occupants of the vehicle - and those outside of it - safe from harm. 

Popular ADAS systems currently fitted to production cars include:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Night vision
  • Automatic parking
  • Adaptive light control
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Crosswind stabilisation
  • Lane keeping assist or lane departure warning
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Traffic sign detection
  • Driver monitoring

ADAS diagnostics systems

ADAS tech really is incredible - and this is just the beginning, with improved 5G-enabled features on the horizon for the cars of tomorrow. It’s only effective if the sensors and cameras onboard a vehicle are correctly calibrated and fully operational, however. That’s where our ADAS diagnostics systems come in. Discover more about them and how they work today, or get in touch with our experts for further details.

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Decline of Diesel Becomes Apparent in Used Car Sales Figures

The writing has been on the wall for diesel cars for a few years now - since the infamous dieselgate scandal swept the industry - but sales on the second-hand market have remained strong. Until now, that is. For the first time, online used car remarketing platform Autorola has reported a decline in demand for second-hand diesel vehicles. Over the course of 2022, diesel sales fell by a not-insignificant 15.1%. Gone are the days of diesel domination: last year, just one in four vehicles sold through the platform was so-powered.

Jumping ship
So, what are motorists buying instead? According to Autorola’s stats, petrol power is now by far and away Britain’s preference. Last year, sales increased by 28.9%, representing 64.9% of total sales. The biggest winners of 2022 though, perhaps unsurprisingly, were hybrid and electric cars. Sales of these lower-emission models shot up by 52.6% in the last 12 months, making up 8.9% of total sales. Although this figure sounds small, we can expect it to increase significantly in the coming years, in-line with new vehicle sales.

Offering further insight, Autorola UK’s group sales director, Jon Mitchell, added: “We are witnessing a shift in the type of stock we are selling, with diesels proving less popular and petrols and hybrids increasing in popularity.” Interestingly, he noted that hybrids are currently performing better than full EVs on the second-hand market: “Used EV demand and prices are falling during the current cost-of-living crisis, which is helping boost both petrol and hybrid sales,” he said.

Do you run a garage?
If you run a workshop of your own and are looking to invest in the very best garage service equipment the industry has to offer, look no further than Hofmann Megaplan. View our full range of machinery online today.

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Three-Reasons to Invest In a Scissor Lift For Your Workshop

Although most workshops have two or four-post lifts nowadays (or a combination of the two), these tried-and-tested designs aren’t the only options on the market. Scissor lifts have been around for a long time, but in recent years they’ve become increasingly popular. Ideally suited to bodywork specialists - including those in the dent removal or detailing trades - scissor lifts have an awful lot to offer. And, depending on the kind of work you do, they may be more suitable than a two or four-post lift.

In this quick guide, we’re going to look at three key reasons for the popularity of scissor lifts - and why you should consider investing in one this year.

They’re versatile
Their simple design makes scissor lifts useful for a wide variety of jobs - and there are tonnes of specialised models out there suitable for all kinds of different uses. From removing and reinstalling EV batteries and gearboxes to working on motorcycles and even lifting wheels, scissor lifts are extremely versatile.This versatility makes them worthy of consideration no matter which vehicles you work on. Some are even mobile!

They save space
Scissor lifts are much less bulky than traditional two or four-post lifts, which is an added bonus for more compact workshops. Even if your unit is large, the space savings offered by a scissor lift can be invaluable, allowing you to fit in more vehicles or equipment.

They’re easy to use
Scissor lifts are extremely straightforward to operate. Unlike two-post lifts, which require you to move each arm to match up to the vehicle’s jacking points to avoid causing damage, scissor lifts distribute the load more evenly. Simply drive the vehicle into position and up you go - no further fiddling required.

View our range of scissor lifts today
Considering investing in a scissor lift of your own? Explore our full range of vehicle lifts today and enquire with our team of experts for a free installation quote.

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UK’s Fastest-Growing Car Brand Revealed

What do you think is the UK’s fastest-growing car brand? Perhaps it’s Kia - they’ve transformed from an undesirable budget brand into one of the world’s most innovative car manufacturers. The same goes for sister company Hyundai. Or perhaps it’s Tesla - you see so many on the roads nowadays.

Actually, it’s none of those. According to new figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the UK’s fastest-growing car brand is… MG.

That’s right, MG Motor UK took this year’s ‘most improved’ crown in sales terms. It’s the second year of success in a row for the Chinese-owned brand, which sold an impressive 38,312 cars in the first nine months of 2022.

When you compare that figure against last year’s, MG’s market share has increased by a whopping 82% year on year.

Looking solely at September’s sales, this year’s figure was up 61% on the same month last year - a dramatic increase for a brand that finally seems to be gaining real traction here in Britain.

Although it’s named after the all-British sports car brand famous for the likes of the MG B and latterly the F and TF, the MG of today is an altogether different beast.

Owned by Chinese giant SAIC Motor, the MG of today boasts an affordable lineup of electric family cars, all of which come with a seven-year warranty - equalling that offered by Kia.

MG Motor UK’s Commercial Director, Guy Pigounakis, said: “The latest SMMT figures are extremely positive, reflecting the incredible growth we’ve achieved within the last 12 months.

“I have no doubt our new MG4 and MG5 models will be immensely popular with customers looking to make the switch to electric as we head towards 2023.”

MOT bay installation services

If you’re in the motor trade and operate a workshop of your own, offering MOT testing services can drastically broaden your customer base and help you win new business. We can help you get there with nationwide MOT bay installation services. Learn more today.

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What Is Wheel Alignment?

Have you been told your car needs a wheel alignment or are you thinking of getting it done for a performance benefit? Wheel alignment really is a crucial factor that has a significant impact on your car’s handling, performance, braking capability and tyre wear - not to mention fuel consumption!

Accurate alignment settings can make or break a car. They can drastically improve the feedback given to the driver through the steering wheel, making a vehicle safer and more enjoyable to drive… and wheel alignment doesn’t cost the Earth, either. In fact, we’d argue there are fewer more beneficial services to treat your car to - in terms of bang for your buck, wheel alignment is hard to beat.

But what exactly is wheel alignment? How is it adjusted, and what do technicians use to get the job done? As one of Britain’s premier suppliers of wheel alignment machines, we know these are questions our customers often get asked. So, without further ado, let’s answer them!

How is alignment adjusted?

To perform an alignment on a vehicle, you first need the correct tools and equipment; most alignment specialists use tailor-made alignment machines. In a nutshell, a receiver unit is placed on each wheel and linked up to the main alignment system, which sits in front of the car. That system communicates with each receiver unit, precisely measuring the angle each wheel is at and determining the relationship between each wheel.

The car is typically placed on a four-post lift and raised up into the air, allowing adjustments to be made from underneath. Different vehicles have different adjustment methods, but the tool used generally remains the same: a trusty spanner!

The technician will input your registration number into the machine and make adjustments to match your car’s alignment specifications to the manufacturer recommendations. A computer screen shows them how far out each parameter is - each one will turn green when it’s adjusted correctly.

Toe

The most commonly-adjusted wheel alignment parameter is toe. If you just opt to have your car’s ‘tracking’ checked, you can expect a straightforward toe adjustment - although toe is perhaps the most crucial parameter to get right.

Looking down on the top of the wheel as you stand by the car, toe is the amount the wheels are ‘turned’ when the steering wheel is straight. If the front or rear wheels point outwards when the car is driving straight ahead, the car has ‘toe out’. If they point inwards, it has ‘toe in’. Both have their place, but excessive toe is never a good thing; not only can it impair handling and braking, it will result in dreadful tyre wear.

Camber

Looking at your car from the front or back, camber is the angle your wheels sit at relative to being vertical. Negative camber means the top of your wheel is angled inwards, towards the body of the car, while positive camber means the top of your wheel is poking outwards. If your wheels are standing straight up, they have zero camber.

Positive camber is pretty much never beneficial for handling or performance - most manufacturers recommend a little negative camber for optimal handling, although too much can again result in excessive tyre wear and a lack of grip.

Caster

Looking at your vehicle from the side, caster is visualised by how far forward or backwards your wheels are in the arches. Most standard vehicles have very little wiggle room for caster adjustments, so this parameter often won’t need to be adjusted much. It’s still important to make sure it’s correctly set, however, as caster affects steering feedback and tyre wear.

Thrust angle

Thrust angle is a measurement involving the front and rear axles, and the four wheels and tyres of the vehicle.

On a standard road car, the front and rear axles of the vehicle should be parallel, and a line drawn straight forward from the centre of the rear axle should intersect the front axle exactly in the centre too. So, when you accelerate (apply thrust), the vehicle will accelerate in a straight line. But if the rear axle isn’t parallel with the front axle, or if the rear toe is incorrectly set, the rear of the car will try to push the car to the left or right, which will have to be corrected by steering one way or the other.

Aside from all the other issues associated with wheel alignment, thrust is particularly critical on modern cars with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), which rely on cameras and radar to see the road straight ahead.

Premium wheel alignment machines

Want to learn more about the machines used to check and adjust wheel alignment settings? Explore our range of premium wheel alignment machines today and discover how they work!

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Bradford Latest City to Introduce Clean Air Zone

As the Government seeks to transform Britain into a more sustainable nation ahead of the 2030 ban on new ICE car sales, cities across the country have begun implementing Low Emission or Clean Air Zones (LEZ/CAZ). Bradford, West Yorkshire is the latest such city, the CAZ there coming into force at the end of September.

Vehicles that don’t meet the standards set out by the local authority will incur a daily charge for entering the zone, discouraging owners of older, more polluting vehicles from driving into the city centre. Notably, private passenger cars and motorcycles are exempt from charges, as are compliant commercial vehicles. Are they? Just seems strange, it’s not the case in most other clean air zones.

Why Bradford?
Bradford was selected by the Government as an ideal candidate for a CAZ for a number of reasons. First and foremost, air pollution exceeds recommended levels in a number of places across the city, often in disadvantaged areas with a high percentage of young people under the age of 16. It’s hoped that the introduction of the CAZ will benefit those younger people the most, reducing the prevalence of asthma cases across the city.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council said: "Bradford is acting on a Government directive to implement a charging Clean Air Zone. We know that air pollution levels are too high and have damaging impacts on the health of too many of our residents. There’s no escaping that fact.

"After protracted negotiations with Government the CAZ has been designed very carefully to exempt private cars, motorbikes, and local businesses, while having an immediate and material impact on the air we all breathe. What we have to stop is polluting commercial vehicles from outside the district using Bradford as a de facto motorway, coming through the district but not stopping to do business here. The support from transport operators in the District has been incredible. 92% of taxis in Bradford are already compliant, along with over 370 buses meeting clean air zone standards.The Clean Air Zone will substantially reduce air pollution in Bradford and improve the health of residents, their families and our communities."

Explore our range of EV servicing equipment
Are you ready for the rise of the EV? If you run a workshop, it’s likely you’ll be working on a whole lot more of them in the coming years - so make sure you’re prepared with our range of EV specialist tooling and servicing equipment. Discover the full line-up online today.

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What Equipment Does a Garage Need to Do An MOT?

Every car over three years old needs an MOT to be road legal. Light commercial vehicles and motorcycles need them too, so demand for testing is always high, year-round, no matter which type of vehicle your workshop specialises in. If you don’t currently offer MOT testing in-house and would like to, your first question may well be the one posed in the title of this article: what equipment do I need? Let’s take a closer look at each piece of equipment used in an MOT test.

MOT testing equipment
Typically, garages looking to branch out into MOT testing will choose a complete MOT bay installation, which includes all of the necessary components to carry out accurate, compliant testing. It’s much easier to take this route than it is to buy equipment individually.

Our Class 4 MOT bays include the following pieces of equipment:

  • Four-post lift: A robust, easy-to-use lift that’s perfect for inspecting vehicles. A four-post lift is ideally suited to MOT testing, as it takes just seconds to get the vehicle up in the air but still provides enough access to check for play in bushes, exhaust leaks, corrosion and other potential failure points.
  • Radius (or turn) plates: Not an essential item legally, but a must-have for busy MOT garages nonetheless. Radius plates allow a vehicle’s wheels to be turned without using the steering wheel, allowing a tester to quickly and easily check the operation of the steering from outside and underneath. Much easier than asking a colleague to hop in and turn the steering wheel!
  • Play detector: A straightforward device used to check for play in suspension bushes - a common failure or advisory point on an MOT test.
  • Jacking beam: Mounted to the four-post lift, a jacking beam makes it easy to lift the vehicle off the ground while it’s still in the air - perfect for checking play in wheel bearings, for example.
  • Headlight beam tester: A machine that efficiently assesses the aim of a vehicle’s headlight beam. Using it, a tester can quickly determine whether or not the beam needs adjusting, before making the necessary alterations to pass the vehicle.
  • Brake tester: A vital component of the MOT test. Brakes are perhaps the single most important safety component on a vehicle, and this machine will make sure they’re in good working order. Not only will it assess the overall stopping power of the vehicle, it’ll let the tester know if there are potentially dangerous imbalances across an axle.
  • Smoke and gas analyser: Used to analyse the emissions from a vehicle’s tailpipe. A variety of parameters are recorded and compared against maximum legal requirements, giving you a clear pass or fail result.

Get your quote today
Ready to learn more and begin planning your MOT bay installation? Learn more about the services we have to offer today, or contact us to get your own tailored installation quote.

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What Are the Different Types of MOT Bay?

Looking into adding an MOT bay to your workshop? If you’re not sure which type of bay you need, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’re going to take a closer look at each of the different types and what sets them apart from one another, allowing you to make an informed decision on which one’s best suited to you.

Class 1 and 2
If you predominantly work on motorcycles, this is the type of bay you’ll need. Class 1 and 2 vehicles include:

  • Motorcycles
  • Scooters
  • Mopeds
  • Sidecars

Class 1 and 2 bays consist of roller brake testers, headlamp testers and, optionally, lifts. This means they utilise much of the same equipment as Class 4 and 7 bays, but in a different format; for example, motorcycle brake testers and lifts can be much smaller, as there are only two wheels to test instead of four. It is possible to make adaptations to a Class 4 bay to make it suitable for bike testing, but if you work exclusively with bikes, this isn’t recommended. Not only do Class 1 and 2 bays make the testing process easier, they also take up less space and are more affordable - a no brainer!

Class 4
The most common type of MOT bay. Class 4 covers regular passenger cars, making it the default choice for workshops looking to cater for the largest possible customer base. Our Class 4 MOT bay installations include:

  • Four-post lifts
  • Smoke and gas analysers
  • Brake testers
  • Play detectors
  • Jacking beams
  • Headlight beam testers
  • Decelerometers

Class 7 
Class 7 encompasses light commercial vehicles weighing between 3 and 3.5 tonnes - think Ford Transits, Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, Volkswagen Crafters and so on. At first glance there’s little difference between this type of bay and a Class 4 installation, but this isn’t the case. Class 7 MOT bays utilise beefier lifting equipment to safely cope with the increased size and weight of commercial vehicles, making them a must for businesses looking to test vans and small trucks. Much of the testing equipment remains the same, however, so these bays can also be used to test passenger cars. The only drawback? They’re more expensive and take up more space.

Speak to the experts at Hofmann Megaplan
Looking for a comprehensive, turnkey solution? Our MOT bay installation service is exactly that. As well as supplying all of the necessary equipment, we can install it to a high standard and provide ongoing support, helping you hit the ground running. Contact us today to learn more.

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EVs cheaper to service than ICE cars, new data confirms

Supply chain management and consultancy firm, Fleet Assist, has concluded that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are 22% cheaper to service (on average) than equivalent fossil fuel vehicles. The company reached the conclusion by analysing all of its data for 2022 thus far - all 850,000 vehicles and 5,200 garages worth. According to the organisation, the price differential largely comes down to reduced labour costs; there are simply fewer components requiring regular servicing on an EV when compared to an ICE vehicle.Parts costs can be lower, too. On average, the parts spend for an EV service is 28% less than for an ICE vehicle. Again, this can be attributed to an EV’s decreased reliance on wear and tear items like brakes, as well as a reduction in the number of moving parts.

Without oil changes to contend with, Fleet Assist says that the most commonly replaced parts in an EV service tend to be pollen filters, bulbs, key fob batteries, wiper blades and brake fluid. Although this is good news for EV drivers, it’s not expected to remain the case forever. Fleet Assist says that dealers will likely raise their labour costs to maintain current levels of profitability.

Vincent St Claire, MD at Fleet Assist, said: “Fleet and retail drivers cannot take it for granted that BEV SMR prices will remain cheaper than ICE cars, as over time costs could become more comparable.

“Garages are already starting to come to terms with how EVs will impact their servicing revenues and workshop traffic in the longer term. We may see more garages looking at ways to address how the paradigm shift of BEV aftersales is going to challenge their service provision and fees they charge.”

Get your EV specialist servicing equipment from Hofmann Megaplan

Don’t get left behind by the EV revolution - get ahead and invest in specialist EV servicing equipment and tooling from Hofmann Megaplan today. Explore our current range online or get in touch with us to learn more.

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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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Wireless Road Charging Tested Successfully by Fiat

In the great debate surrounding electric cars, one topic seems to crop up more than any other: charging points. Are we installing enough of them? How will people without off-street parking charge their EV safely? What about those living in rural areas? Many questions remain unanswered, but perhaps for not much longer: Italian car manufacturer Fiat thinks it may have just the solution.

It’s recently been testing potentially-revolutionary wireless charging technology, allowing an EV to replenish its battery without being plugged into anything at all.

How does it work?

The principle of Fiat’s solution is similar to the wireless charging pads we’re now used to using for our mobile phones, but (naturally) on a much grander scale. Named Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT), the system utilises coils placed beneath the road surface, which transfer power to the car’s battery wirelessly. Best of all, the vehicle doesn’t even need to be stationary to recharge. The coils are powerful enough to boost an EV’s charge even when it’s on the move, negating the need for lengthy pit stops.

In recent testing at the Arena del Futuro (Arena of the Future) circuit, Fiat (part of the Stellantis group) drove an electric 500 over a road equipped with the DWPT system.The trials were a success, with the battery charge increasing even when the road was driven over at motorway speeds. 

“We have proven that inductive recharging technology can power our electrified future,” said Anne-Lise Richard, Head of the Global e-Mobility Business Unit at Stellantis.

“These joint projects are exciting steps as we work to achieve longer battery lifespan, lower range anxiety, greater energy efficiency, smaller battery size, outstanding performance and lower weight and cost.”

EV specialist tooling and garage equipment

Want to get ahead of the curve and prepare your workshop for the EV revolution? You can do just that with our extensive range of EV specialist tooling and garage equipment, including battery lifts, wheel alignment systems and more. View the complete range online today.

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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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