The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in integrated vapor recovery tanks is driven by environmental regulations, system integration with fuel dispensing equipment and optimization of flow dynamics, as well as growing importance of technologies such as vapor recovery units (VRUs), pressure/vacuum valves, and tank blanketing systems. 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 Innovation in automotive: integrated vapor recovery tanks. Buy the report here.

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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 stabilizing 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.

300+ 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 one million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, integrated multi-motor drivetrains, electric power steering (EPS), and post-collision handling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Variable compression engines, V2V distance monitoring, and turbocharger shaft bearings are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and plasma-jet ignition, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry

Integrated vapor recovery tanks is a key innovation area in automotive

Integrated vapor recovery tanks are fuel storage containers engineered to curb fuel vapor emissions through the integration of diverse mechanisms and features. These tanks include filler necks with failsafe means that allow for proper positioning of a liquid dispensing nozzle, filler neck inserts that provide a secure and frictional engagement with the filler neck, and fuel tanks with moisture separators to prevent moisture-induced malfunctions of diesel heaters. The design of these tanks aims to improve fueling efficiency and reduce harmful emissions.

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 integrated vapor recovery tanks.

Key players in integrated vapor recovery tanks – 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 integrated vapor recovery tanks

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Eaton 340 Unlock Company Profile
Illinois Tool Works 358 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 93 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 712 Unlock Company Profile
Nifco 387 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 76 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 424 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 101 Unlock Company Profile
Veritas 53 Unlock Company Profile
Aisan Industry 216 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 89 Unlock Company Profile
State Development and Investment 58 Unlock Company Profile
Suzuki Motor 53 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 667 Unlock Company Profile
Deere 53 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 427 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 241 Unlock Company Profile
Toyoda Gosei 274 Unlock Company Profile
Textron 634 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 186 Unlock Company Profile
Burelle 588 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 215 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 234 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 244 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 66 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 508 Unlock Company Profile
Donghee 67 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 183 Unlock Company Profile
Kiekert 54 Unlock Company Profile
MAGNA STEYR Fuel Systems 117 Unlock Company Profile
Stant 77 Unlock Company Profile
TI Fluid Systems 222 Unlock Company Profile
Raval ACS 76 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota Motor is one of the key patent filers in integrated vapor recovery tanks. Toyota Motors’ innovative integrated vapor recovery tank includes improvements in efficiency, materials, and technology to enhance the capture and control of vapor emissions from fuel storage. Some of the other key patent filers in this space are Honda Motor and Textron.

In terms of application diversity, Sumitomo Electric Industries leads the pack, while Kiekert and TI Fluid stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, TI Fluid held the top position, followed by Nifco and Raval ACS.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive

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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.