The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by cost, engine performance, fuel efficiency, and durability, and growing importance of technologies such as electric, connected and autonomous vehicles. 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: Fuel cell-battery combination. Buy the report here.
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
Fuel cell-battery combination is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
A hydrogen-based fuel cell produces electricity to charge batteries in vehicles in addition to supplying energy to the drivetrain. Like lithium batteries, hydrogen itself serves as an energy carrier and storage mechanism.
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 140+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of fuel cell-battery combination.
Key players in fuel cell-battery combination – 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 fuel cell-battery combination
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Toyota Motor||1047||Unlock company profile|
|Nissan Motor||287||Unlock company profile|
|Hyundai Motor Group||273||Unlock company profile|
|Honda Motor||235||Unlock company profile|
|Panasonic||200||Unlock company profile|
|General Motors||167||Unlock company profile|
|Robert Bosch Stiftung||143||Unlock company profile|
|Porsche Automobil Holding||134||Unlock company profile|
|Kia||133||Unlock company profile|
|Samsung SDI||102||Unlock company profile|
|Toshiba||77||Unlock company profile|
|Kyocera||74||Unlock company profile|
|Mercedes-Benz Group||71||Unlock company profile|
|Murata Manufacturing||64||Unlock company profile|
|Johnson Controls International||64||Unlock company profile|
|Sony Group||60||Unlock company profile|
|LG||60||Unlock company profile|
|Ford Motor||56||Unlock company profile|
|Meditor European Master Fund||53||Unlock company profile|
|Tesla||50||Unlock company profile|
|Honeywell International||47||Unlock company profile|
|Suzuki Motor||44||Unlock company profile|
|Brookfield Asset Management||43||Unlock company profile|
|Bayerische Motoren Werke||43||Unlock company profile|
|Dyson Holdings||39||Unlock company profile|
|Yamaha Motor||39||Unlock company profile|
|Hitachi||36||Unlock company profile|
|BlackBerry||33||Unlock company profile|
|Cummins||32||Unlock company profile|
|Microsoft||32||Unlock company profile|
|Mahle||28||Unlock company profile|
|Denso||27||Unlock company profile|
|International Business Machines||25||Unlock company profile|
|EaglePicher||25||Unlock company profile|
|Cadenza Innovation||24||Unlock company profile|
|Siemens||24||Unlock company profile|
|Bloom Energy||23||Unlock company profile|
|Fastcap Systems||23||Unlock company profile|
|Boeing||23||Unlock company profile|
|Swatch Group||23||Unlock company profile|
|CEA||23||Unlock company profile|
|Chung-Hsin Electric and Machinery Manufacturing||21||Unlock company profile|
|Dell Technologies||20||Unlock company profile|
|Doosan||19||Unlock company profile|
|Toyota Jidosha Kogyo||19||Unlock company profile|
|Johnson & Johnson||19||Unlock company profile|
|AB Volvo||18||Unlock company profile|
|Naval Group||18||Unlock company profile|
|NACCO Materials Handling Group||17||Unlock company profile|
|Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation||17||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Toyota is a leading patent filer in the fuel cell-battery combination market with 1,047 patent applications. Toyota is continuing to develop fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) as they are one of the most promising technologies for achieving sustainable mobility and energy diversification. Nissan, Panasonic, and Hyundai are a few of the other top patent filers in the same field.
To further understand how environmental sustainability is disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.