The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. The industry is embracing innovation in charging circuit actuators to enhance charging speed, efficiency, versatility, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness, driven by the growing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). The automotive industry is embracing new charging circuit actuators such as bidirectional, high-power, wireless, and silicon carbide MOSFETs to reduce fossil fuel reliance, increase EV versatility, and lower ownership costs. 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: charging circuit actuators. 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

Charging circuit actuators is a key innovation area in automotive

Charging circuit actuators refer to devices or mechanisms used to actuate or control the movement of charging components or flaps in electric or fuel-powered vehicles. These actuators are usually motor-driven and can be controlled by an electric motor controller to open or close the charging flaps automatically. They are designed to enable convenient and efficient charging or refueling operations in vehicles.

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 charging circuit actuators.

Key players in charging circuit actuators – 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 charging circuit actuators

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
JELD-WEN 3 Unlock Company Profile
Faurecia 8 Unlock Company Profile
Seoyon E-Hwa 4 Unlock Company Profile
Illinois Tool Works 34 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 8 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 8 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Motors 32 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 120 Unlock Company Profile
Nifco 16 Unlock Company Profile
Tokai Rika 9 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 36 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 4 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 50 Unlock Company Profile
Schneider Electric 3 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 6 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 12 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 41 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 108 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 30 Unlock Company Profile
Toyoda Gosei 6 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 19 Unlock Company Profile
China South Industries Group 3 Unlock Company Profile
Yazaki 8 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 30 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 37 Unlock Company Profile
Brose Fahrzeugteile 5 Unlock Company Profile
Kiekert 19 Unlock Company Profile
TVS Group 2 Unlock Company Profile
WITTE Automotive 4 Unlock Company Profile
Centre for Advanced Medicine 4 Unlock Company Profile
Tokai Rika Denki Seisakusho 2 Unlock Company Profile
Tatsumi Ryoki 5 Unlock Company Profile
Iveco Group 3 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota Motor, Porsche Automobil, and Nissan Motor are some of the leading patent filers in charging circuit actuators for EVs. Their latest patents focus on converting DC power into AC, a battery management system, and adaptability. This technology could make EVs more versatile, sustainable, and attractive to consumers.

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

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.