The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need for improving vehicle efficiency, reducing emissions, enhancing performance, and growing importance of technologies such as high-voltage batteries, and control algorithms. 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 Electric vehicles in automotive: HEV drivetrains. Buy the report here.
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.
HEV drivetrains is a key innovation area in electric vehicles
HEV drivetrains refer to the drivetrains used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). These drivetrains consist of various components such as engines, transmission systems, power transmitting devices, and multiple-speed gearboxes. The purpose of these drivetrains is to efficiently transmit power from the engine to the driven axle, while allowing for variable gear ratios and separating the engine block from the gearbox housing.
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 HEV drivetrains.
Key players in HEV drivetrains – 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 HEV drivetrains
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Honda Motor is the key patent filer in HEV drivetrains. In certain Honda HEVs, electric motors are used to power the rear wheels, providing all-wheel-drive capability. This technology enhances traction and stability while contributing to efficiency. Honda incorporates thermal management systems to regulate the temperature of critical components within the drivetrain, ensuring optimal operating conditions. Toyota Motors and Porsche Automobil are some of the other patent filers in HEV drivetrains.
In terms of application diversity, Hitachi leads the pack, while NTN and Komatsu stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, BAE Systems held the top position, followed by QinetiQ and Komatsu.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Electric Vehicles (EV).