The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in onboard charger (OBC) power factor correction is driven by factors such as increasing adoption of electric vehicles, government incentives, subsidies, and regulations promoting the use of electric vehicles, charging infrastructure development, and growing demand for high-power charging, as well as growing importance of technologies such as power factor correction (PFC) algorithms, active power factor correction, passive power factor correction, and digital signal processing. 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: OBC power factor correction. 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 the 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

OBC power factor correction is a key innovation area in automotive

OBC power factor correction is a technology used in power conversion systems to correct the power factor in battery chargers and DC-DC converters. Power factor correction involves reducing the phase difference between voltage and current, to ensure that the power delivered by the source is used efficiently.

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 OBC power factor correction.

Key players in OBC power factor correction – 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 OBC power factor correction

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Huawei Investment & Holding 87 Unlock Company Profile
Faurecia 25 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 348 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 52 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 105 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung SDI 28 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 167 Unlock Company Profile
BYD 263 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 31 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 416 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 26 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 75 Unlock Company Profile
Lear 48 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 53 Unlock Company Profile
Schneider Electric 30 Unlock Company Profile
Dell Technologies 30 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 269 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 80 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 71 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 47 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 86 Unlock Company Profile
Delta Electronics 71 Unlock Company Profile
LS Electric 30 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 234 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 51 Unlock Company Profile
Fuji Electric 27 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 79 Unlock Company Profile
LG 49 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 34 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 109 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 301 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 51 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 120 Unlock Company Profile
BRUSA Elektronik 31 Unlock Company Profile
TAE Technologies 61 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Hyundai Motor is one of the leading patent filers in OBC power factor correction. The company's OBC PFC technology is a new technology that improves the efficiency of electric vehicle (EV) chargers. The technology works by adjusting the input current to the charger so that it is in phase with the input voltage. This reduces the amount of reactive power that the charger draws from the grid, which improves the efficiency of the charger and reduces the cost of charging EVs. Some other key patent filers in the space include Toyota Motor, Kia, and Renault.

In terms of application diversity, BYD leads the pack, while Sumitomo Electric Industries and Honda Motor stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Dell Technologies held the top position, followed by TAE Technologies and Sumitomo Electric Industries.

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.