The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by enhanced performance, increased energy efficiency, and improved comfort, and growing importance of technologies such as wireless connectivity, sensors and electric control units (ECUs). 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: in-wheel EV suspensions. 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.
In-wheel EV suspensions is a key innovation area in electric vehicles
In-wheel EV suspensions refer to a type of suspension system for electric vehicles where each wheel is equipped with its own dedicated suspension mechanism. These suspensions are designed to provide independent control and movement for each wheel, allowing for improved handling, stability, and ride comfort. They typically include components such as base frames, connection links, driving wheels, rotation plates, shock absorbers, and driving devices.
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 in-wheel EV suspensions.
Key players in in-wheel EV suspensions – 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 in-wheel EV suspensions
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Toyota Motor (Toyota) is the leading patent filer in in-wheel EV suspensions. Toyota’s in-wheel EV suspension has the ability to control each wheel independently, which allows for precise torque distribution and improved handling, particularly in challenging driving conditions. Toyota’s in-wheel electric suspensions often involve integrating the electric motor directly into the wheel hub. This design simplifies the overall vehicle architecture, eliminating the need for a centralized drivetrain and improving efficiency. Zeppelin-Stiftung and NTT are some of the other key patent filers in this space.
In terms of application diversity, Gogoro leads the pack, while Karma Automotive and Komatsu stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Nikola held the top position, followed by Microelectronica MASER and Gogoro.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Electric Vehicles (EV).