The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in vehicle battery cooling is driven by increasing demand for electric and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and growing importance of technologies such as two-phase, direct liquid, microchannel, and spray systems to enhance performance, durability, and safety of electric vehicle (EV) and HEV batteries. 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: vehicle battery cooling. 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

Vehicle battery cooling is a key innovation area in automotive

Vehicle battery cooling refers to the process of regulating the temperature of the battery in electric vehicles to improve its performance, efficiency, and lifespan. It involves the use of cooling systems and heat exchangers to dissipate excess heat generated during battery operation and maintain optimal temperature conditions for safe and reliable operation.

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 vehicle battery cooling.

Key players in vehicle battery cooling – 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 vehicle battery cooling

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hyundai Mobis 197 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 70 Unlock Company Profile
Faurecia 189 Unlock Company Profile
Illinois Tool Works 188 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 67 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 57 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 523 Unlock Company Profile
Nifco 217 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 727 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 62 Unlock Company Profile
BYD 182 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Geely 82 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 923 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 90 Unlock Company Profile
Schneider Electric 203 Unlock Company Profile
Hanon Systems 658 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 74 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 185 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 63 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 139 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 565 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 173 Unlock Company Profile
Toyoda Gosei 68 Unlock Company Profile
Mahle 150 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 220 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 972 Unlock Company Profile
Tesla 56 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 77 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 747 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 507 Unlock Company Profile
Sanden 418 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 129 Unlock Company Profile
Fischer Automotive Systems 64 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Denso is one of the leading patent filers in vehicle battery cooling. The company filed a patent for a two-phase heat exchanger-based vehicle battery cooling system for electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vehicles. This innovative system is expected to improve battery performance, durability, safety, and reduce costs, paving the way for widespread adoption of EVs. Some other key patent filers in this space include Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors.

In terms of application diversity, Tesla leads the pack, while Renault and FCA stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Mitsubishi held the top position, followed by Panasonic and Tesla.

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.