The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the future limited reserve of fossil fuels, a deteriorating environment, and growing importance of technologies such as hydrogen injection systems for internal combustion engines and engine calibrators, which will help in improving fuel efficiency and mixing of fuel and air in combustion chamber. 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 Environmental sustainability in Automotive: Bio-fuel ICE fuel injectors.
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, EV discharge prediction, fuel cell ion exchange membranes, and hydrogen ICE fuel tanks are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. V2G smart metering, silicon-air batteries, and zeolites for exhaust filtering are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are HEV propulsion systems and wind-powered vehicles, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the automotive industry
Bio-fuel ICE fuel injectors is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
Fuel injection refers to the introduction of fuel using an injector into an internal combustion engine, most frequently an automobile engine. Limited reserves of fossil fuels and a deteriorating environment are increasing the need to replace fossil fuels with biofuels. Bio-fuels are produced from renewable organic material and have the potential to reduce harmful aspects of using fossil fuels such as including their dependence on unreliable foreign suppliers, exhaustible resource depletion, and conventional and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollutant emissions. Bio-fuel injectors can be defined as tools to inject bio-fuels into an ICE through various ways such as single-point fuel injection, multi-point fuel injection, sequential fuel injection, and direct injection. Among all the ways, direct injectors are the most commonly used and the most efficient.
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 bio-fuel ICE fuel injectors.
Key players in bio-fuel ICE fuel injectors – 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 bio-fuel ICE fuel injectors
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Ford Motor||100||Unlock company profile|
|Korea Development Bank||88||Unlock company profile|
|Porsche Automobil Holding||83||Unlock company profile|
|Toyota Motor||77||Unlock company profile|
|Honda Motor||57||Unlock company profile|
|Yanmar Holdings||45||Unlock company profile|
|Hyundai Motor Group||43||Unlock company profile|
|AB Volvo||37||Unlock company profile|
|Halliburton||33||Unlock company profile|
|Saudi Arabian Oil||33||Unlock company profile|
|Robert Bosch Stiftung||33||Unlock company profile|
|YANMAR POWER TECHNOLOGY||26||Unlock company profile|
|General Motors||25||Unlock company profile|
|Wartsila||24||Unlock company profile|
|Kia||21||Unlock company profile|
|Caterpillar||19||Unlock company profile|
|AC||17||Unlock company profile|
|Gates Industrial||14||Unlock company profile|
|Fortive||13||Unlock company profile|
|Denso||12||Unlock company profile|
|Mitsui E&S Holdings||12||Unlock company profile|
|EXEN Holdings||12||Unlock company profile|
|Chevron U. S. A||12||Unlock company profile|
|IHI||10||Unlock company profile|
|Keihin||10||Unlock company profile|
|Motonic||10||Unlock company profile|
|Mitsubishi Heavy Industries||9||Unlock company profile|
|Zhejiang Geely Holding Group||8||Unlock company profile|
|Hitachi Zosen||8||Unlock company profile|
|Westport Power||8||Unlock company profile|
|Isuzu Motors||7||Unlock company profile|
|Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation||7||Unlock company profile|
|Mazda Motor||7||Unlock company profile|
|Corning||7||Unlock company profile|
|Continental||7||Unlock company profile|
|Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha||6||Unlock company profile|
|Aisan Industry||6||Unlock company profile|
|Samsung Heavy Industries||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Ford Motor is one of the leading patent filers in Bio-fuel ICE fuel injectors. It was the first automaker in the world to start the production of its dedicated hydrogen-fueled 6.8-liter V-10 engine. Ford also developed next-generation hydrogen ICE, which had features such as direct injection to enhance power and fuel economy. Some other major patent filers in the industry are Porsche Automobil Holding, Toyota Motor, and Honda Motor.
To further understand how environmental sustainability is disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.