The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. The industry is embracing automated electric vehicle (EV) charging ports due to rising adoption, government regulations, technological advancements, and competition, promoting faster, efficient charging and differentiation in products and services. The automotive industry is exploring robotic arm-based automated EV charging, wireless charging pads, vision-based charging, and AI-powered charging for convenience and efficiency. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.7 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in automotive: automated EV charging ports. Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

300+ innovations will shape the automotive industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the automotive industry using innovation intensity models built on over one million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, integrated multi-motor drivetrains, electric power steering (EPS), and post-collision handling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Variable compression engines, V2V distance monitoring, and turbocharger shaft bearings are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and plasma-jet ignition, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry

Automated EV charging ports is a key innovation area in automotive

Automated EV charging ports refer to a system or mechanism that automatically opens and/or closes the flap or lid of an EV's charging or refueling port. This is typically achieved using an actuator controlled by an electric motor controller that can be triggered by an external movement or actuation signal.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of automated EV charging ports.

Key players in automated EV charging ports – a disruptive innovation in the automotive industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to automated EV charging ports

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Volvo 3 Unlock Company Profile
JELD-WEN 3 Unlock Company Profile
Faurecia 8 Unlock Company Profile
Seoyon E-Hwa 4 Unlock Company Profile
Illinois Tool Works 31 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 7 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Motors 21 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 114 Unlock Company Profile
Nifco 16 Unlock Company Profile
Tokai Rika 15 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 27 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 4 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 60 Unlock Company Profile
Yamaha Motor 6 Unlock Company Profile
Schneider Electric 3 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 6 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 3 Unlock Company Profile
Suzuki Motor 6 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 33 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 81 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 29 Unlock Company Profile
Toyoda Gosei 5 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 18 Unlock Company Profile
Burelle 7 Unlock Company Profile
China South Industries Group 3 Unlock Company Profile
Yazaki 28 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 17 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 40 Unlock Company Profile
Brose Fahrzeugteile 5 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 3 Unlock Company Profile
Kiekert 18 Unlock Company Profile
WITTE Automotive 4 Unlock Company Profile
Centre for Advanced Medicine 4 Unlock Company Profile
Tokai Rika Denki Seisakusho 4 Unlock Company Profile
Iveco Group 3 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota Motor is one of the leading patent filers in automated EV charging ports for the automotive industry. Its latest patent focuses on a robotic arm-guided charging system, offering convenience, speed, and safety. This innovation could encourage more people to switch to electric vehicles and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Porsche Automobile and Nissan Motor are some of the other key patent filers in this space.

In terms of application diversity, Caterpillar leads the pack, while Kia Motors and General Electric stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Nissan Motor held the top position, followed by Yazaki and Toyota Motor.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.