The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. The industry is experiencing a surge in demand for electric vehicles (EVs), necessitating innovative charging solutions. Dual-voltage charging stations are becoming popular due to their flexibility, efficiency, and futureproofing. They can charge both high-voltage and low-voltage EVs, making them more convenient for owners. Government incentives and regulations, growing demand for EVs, OEM involvement, technological advancements, standardization efforts, and industry collaboration are driving innovation in these charging stations. Dual-voltage charging stations are incorporating four key technologies: modular power conversion systems, GaN semiconductors, dynamic voltage and current control, and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) communication protocols. These systems enable scalable, adaptable, and user-friendly charging for EVs. Modular systems allow for easy maintenance and upgrades, while GaN semiconductors offer higher frequencies and voltages, reducing size and weight. 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: dual-voltage charging stations. 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

Dual-voltage charging stations is a key innovation area in automotive

Dual-voltage charging stations are arrangements that provide electric energy to track-bound vehicles and road automobiles using an alternating electromagnetic field and electromagnetic induction. The arrangement includes a receiving device with at least one inductance that produces an alternating electric current by electromagnetic induction. The inductance is connected to a rectifier that rectifies the alternating electric current to produce a direct electric current. The arrangement also includes a control device for automatically controlling a switch that results in a short circuit across the inductance.

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 dual-voltage charging stations.

Key players in dual-voltage charging stations – 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 dual-voltage charging stations

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Volvo 161 Unlock Company Profile
Bombardier 110 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 134 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 143 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 125 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Motors 196 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 4992 Unlock Company Profile
IHI 125 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 137 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 209 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung SDI 131 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 646 Unlock Company Profile
BYD 365 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 312 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 1348 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 338 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 1163 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 880 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 440 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 611 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 914 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 782 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 540 Unlock Company Profile
LS Electric 136 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 748 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 503 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 151 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 155 Unlock Company Profile
LG 170 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 595 Unlock Company Profile
WiTricity 310 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Heavy Industries 132 Unlock Company Profile
Yazaki 156 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 244 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 333 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 822 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 362 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 953 Unlock Company Profile
Gogoro 119 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota Motor is one of the leading patent filers in dual-voltage charging stations. Its latest patent focuses on a dual-voltage charging station for high-voltage and low-voltage electric vehicles. With a $35bn investment planned by 2030, Toyota is poised to lead the way in this technology. Some other key patent filers in this space include Hyundai Motor and Nissan Motor.

In terms of application diversity, Aisin leads the pack, while Sumitomo Heavy Industries and Yazaki stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Sumitomo Heavy Industries held the top position, followed by Sumitomo Electric Industries and IHI.

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.