The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for increased electrode density, faster cycle times and improving the battery’s lifespan, and growing importance of technologies such as graphene enhanced lithium-sulphur battery and graphene enhanced polymer battery. 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: Graphene batteries

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 

Graphene batteries is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability 

Graphene batteries are an innovative technology that facilitates better electrode density and quicker cycle times, along with the ability to hold the charge longer thus enhancing the battery's lifespan.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of graphene batteries. 

Key players in graphene batteries – 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 graphene batteries

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toray Industries 95 Unlock company profile
LG 48 Unlock company profile
PPG Industries 37 Unlock company profile
Semiconductor Energy Laboratory 30 Unlock company profile
Albemarle 22 Unlock company profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung 20 Unlock company profile
Global Graphene Group 16 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 15 Unlock company profile
Nanotek Instruments 15 Unlock company profile
Sekisui Chemical 14 Unlock company profile
NEC 14 Unlock company profile
Showa Denko 11 Unlock company profile
Samsung SDI 10 Unlock company profile
NanoXplore 9 Unlock company profile
Grafoid 7 Unlock company profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 7 Unlock company profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 6 Unlock company profile
Hangzhou Gaoxi Technology 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toray Industries is a key player in the graphene batteries innovation area. The company has successfully developed an ultra-thin graphene dispersion solution with excellent fluidity, electrical conductivity, and thermal conductivity. It has developed a technology that uses cheap graphite materials to make very thin, high-quality graphene. LG, PPG Industries and Semiconductor Energy Laboratory are some of the other key players in the innovation area.

To further understand how environmental sustainability is disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.


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.