The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in reconfigurable batteries is driven by increasing government support for electric vehicle (EV) adoption, growing demand for flexible, efficient, and cost-effective systems, and growing importance of technologies such as graphene-based electrodes, solid-state electrolytes, and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered battery management systems. 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 Batteries in automotive: reconfigurable batteriesBuy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over one million patents to analyze innovation intensity for the automotive industry, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Reconfigurable batteries is a key innovation area in batteries

Reconfigurable batteries refer to electrical storage systems that incorporate multiple series-connected electrochemical cells. These batteries are designed to balance the voltage of individual cells to optimize their performance and extend their lifespan. The balancing process involves discharging or charging specific cells based on their state of charge levels to equalize the voltage distribution across the battery pack.

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 reconfigurable batteries.

Key players in reconfigurable batteries – 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 reconfigurable batteries

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Volvo 52 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 31 Unlock Company Profile
Lockheed Martin 17 Unlock Company Profile
Wing Aviation 38 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 85 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung SDI 107 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 103 Unlock Company Profile
BYD 43 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 53 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 135 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 28 Unlock Company Profile
Murata Manufacturing 19 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 51 Unlock Company Profile
Alarmcom 20 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 23 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 74 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 86 Unlock Company Profile
Proterra 16 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 85 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 19 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 45 Unlock Company Profile
LG 95 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 17 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 17 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 40 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 95 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 18 Unlock Company Profile
SZ DJI Technology 63 Unlock Company Profile
Workhorse Group 42 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 25 Unlock Company Profile
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission 30 Unlock Company Profile
AIMS 22 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Hitachi is one of the leading patent filers in reconfigurable batteries. The company is investing heavily in developing innovative technologies such as AI-powered management systems and solid-state electrolytes. Hitachi's leadership in reconfigurable battery patents could lead to increased flexibility, improved efficiency, and reduced costs of EVs. As the technology becomes more affordable, reconfigurable batteries are expected to become more popular and widely adopted. Some other key patent filers in this space include Samsung SDI and Robert Bosch Stiftung.

In terms of application diversity, Lockheed Martin leads the pack, while Alarmcom and Workhorse Group stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Workhorse Group held the top position, followed by Furukawa and Proterra.

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

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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.