The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by wheel technology that offers high heat resistance, self-vibration damping, better road grip and fuel efficiency, and growing importance of technologies such as electromechanical actuators, sensors, electrification, and connected autonomous vehicles. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.2 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Automotive: Carbon fibre wheels.

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 stabilising 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.

290+ 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 619,000 patents, there are 290+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, eccentric crankshaft gears, retarder brake system, and closed-circuit liquid cooling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Bio-fuel ICEs, electromagnetic valve actuators, and road friction estimation are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are tyre bead fillers and vehicle turbochargers, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry

Carbon fibre wheels is a key innovation area in automotive

The E2 wheel is a unique aftermarket wheel that combines performance, durability, efficiency, and innovation with the beauty of carbon fibre thanks to advanced innovative tailored fibre placement (TFP) and high-pressure resin infusion technology.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of carbon fibre wheels.

Key players in carbon fibre wheels – a disruptive innovation in the automotive industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to carbon fibre wheels

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Carbon Revolution 51 Unlock company profile
SRAM 22 Unlock company profile
Specialized Bicycle Components 17 Unlock company profile
Campagnolo 16 Unlock company profile
ThyssenKrupp 15 Unlock company profile
Dymag Group 15 Unlock company profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 12 Unlock company profile
Amer Sports 10 Unlock company profile
BASF 9 Unlock company profile
CITIC Group 9 Unlock company profile
Shimano 9 Unlock company profile
Compagnie Generale des Etablissements Michelin 8 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Chemical Group 7 Unlock company profile
CARBOFIBRETEC 7 Unlock company profile
ENVE Composites 7 Unlock company profile
Topkey 6 Unlock company profile
Goodyear Tire & Rubber 5 Unlock company profile
Mad Fiber 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Carbon Revolution has successfully industrialised, commercialised, and innovated the distribution of light carbon fibre wheels to the global automotive industry and currently holds 51 filed patents in the segment. The company's carbon fibre composite wheels are some of the most technologically sophisticated and complex composite products in the world. Other companies in carbon fibre wheels for the automotive industry are SRAM, Shimano, and Amer Sports.

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


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.