The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) is driven by performance enhancement, regulatory compliance, fuel efficiency and emission reduction, and growing importance of technologies such as control systems and algorithms, integration with vehicle dynamics control, and energy storage 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: kinetic energy recovery system (KERS). 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

Kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) is a key innovation area in automotive

A kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) is an automotive system that recovers the kinetic energy generated by a vehicle during braking and stores it for future use as additional power to the engine. It is a hybrid automotive system that combines traditional internal combustion engines with electric motors to increase fuel efficiency and provide extra power when needed.

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 kinetic energy recovery system (KERS).

Key players in kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) – 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 kinetic energy recovery system (KERS)

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Isuzu Motors 24 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 22 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 159 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson Electric 25 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 226 Unlock Company Profile
Schaeffler 121 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 467 Unlock Company Profile
MITSUBA 50 Unlock Company Profile
Zhengzhou Coal Mining Machinery Group 209 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 97 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 13 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 24 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 105 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 17 Unlock Company Profile
Suzuki Motor 16 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 47 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 235 Unlock Company Profile
Deere 25 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 98 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 139 Unlock Company Profile
Mahle 29 Unlock Company Profile
Briggs & Stratton 16 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 21 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 461 Unlock Company Profile
BorgWarner 111 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 14 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 64 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 156 Unlock Company Profile
Polaris 15 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 44 Unlock Company Profile
Blackburn Energy 13 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Robert Bosch Stiftung is one of the key patent filers in kinetic energy recovery system (KERS). Bosch’s advanced energy storage solutions focus on improving the energy storage capacity, efficiency, and lifespan of the components used in kinetic energy recovery system (KERS). The solutions incorporate advancements in battery technology, supercapacitors, or other energy storage mediums. The company’s innovations in materials and manufacturing processes aim to enhance the reliability and durability of kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) components, reducing maintenance needs and extending the system's lifespan. Some other key patent filers in this space include Denso and Mitsubishi Electric.

In terms of application diversity, Blackburn Energy leads the pack, while Polaris and Tata Motors stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Polaris held the top position, followed by Blackburn Energy and Tata Motors.

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.