The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Bidirectional charging is revolutionizing the automotive industry, promoting energy efficiency, grid reliability, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, with potential to become a standard feature on all electric vehicles (EVs) Bidirectional charging technologies for electric vehicles (EVs), such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G), Wi-Fi, vehicle-to-home (V2H), and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) help balance grid load, reduce emissions, increase reliability, and improve energy independence. 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: bidirectional charging. Buy the report here.

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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 the 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

Bidirectional charging is a key innovation area in automotive

Bidirectional charging is a technology that enables electric vehicles to both receive and provide power to and from the electricity grid. This means that an electric vehicle can be charged as well as discharge electricity to the grid, allowing the vehicle to function as a mobile energy storage system.

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 40 companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of bidirectional charging.

Key players in bidirectional charging – 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 bidirectional charging

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hyundai Mobis 32 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 77 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 32 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Motors 46 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 773 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 62 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 68 Unlock Company Profile
BYD 165 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 93 Unlock Company Profile
E.ON 36 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 109 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 60 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 53 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 69 Unlock Company Profile
Murata Manufacturing 53 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 80 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 104 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 294 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 159 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 176 Unlock Company Profile
LS Electric 42 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 109 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 55 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 71 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 41 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 35 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 88 Unlock Company Profile
WiTricity 211 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 34 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 37 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 81 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 76 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 34 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 136 Unlock Company Profile
Chargepoint 73 Unlock Company Profile
Twenty First Century Utilities 32 Unlock Company Profile
Causam Energy 69 Unlock Company Profile
Gogoro 125 Unlock Company Profile
Wobben Properties 70 Unlock Company Profile
Cpi Integration 47 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota Motor is one of the leading patent filers in bidirectional charging, enabling EVs to charge other EVs or power homes and businesses. This technology is expected to make EVs more appealing to consumers and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Honda Motor and WiTricity are some other key patent filers in this space.

In terms of application diversity, Causam Energy leads the pack, while Robert Bosch Stiftung and EON stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Causam Energy held the top position, followed by BYD and ChargePoint.

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.