The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in vehicle electric insulation is driven by increasing adoption  of electric vehicles (EVs), rising demand for lighter, more durable, high-temperature, and flame-retardant materials, and growing importance of technologies such as flexible polyimide film coated with metal, and Kevlar fiber and self-healing insulations. These technologies are still in development, but they have the potential to revolutionize the automotive industry. 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 electric insulation. 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 electric insulation is a key innovation area in automotive

Vehicle electric insulation refers to the process and materials used to protect electrical components and wiring in vehicles from external factors such as moisture, water, and mechanical damage. It involves the use of insulation materials and techniques to ensure reliable and safe electrical connections and prevent short circuits or malfunctions due to environmental conditions.

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 electric insulation.

Key players in vehicle electric insulation – 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 electric insulation

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NOK 3 Unlock Company Profile
Faurecia 5 Unlock Company Profile
Proterial 12 Unlock Company Profile
Illinois Tool Works 6 Unlock Company Profile
Isuzu Motors 2 Unlock Company Profile
Kyungshin 93 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 79 Unlock Company Profile
TE Connectivity 9 Unlock Company Profile
THN 17 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 40 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 10 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 8 Unlock Company Profile
Otto Fuchs 2 Unlock Company Profile
Riken Technos 3 Unlock Company Profile
Suzuki Motor 9 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 5 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 7 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 3 Unlock Company Profile
Deere 6 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa Electric 94 Unlock Company Profile
Yazaki 216 Unlock Company Profile
Fujikura 3 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 22 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 790 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 17 Unlock Company Profile
Daehan Solution 3 Unlock Company Profile
Inoac 2 Unlock Company Profile
Auto-Kabel 2 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 2 Unlock Company Profile
Yura 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Transys 1 Unlock Company Profile
Fujitsu Telecom Networks 1 Unlock Company Profile
Lisa Draxlmaier 3 Unlock Company Profile
Auto Network Gijutsu Kenkyusho 31 Unlock Company Profile
Daiwa Kasei Industrial 8 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Denso 89 Unlock Company Profile
Delphi Packard Electric System 2 Unlock Company Profile
Inoue Mtp 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Sumitomo Electric Industries is one of the top patent filers in vehicle electric insulation. It recently filed a patent for a flexible vehicle wiring module, offering improved reliability, reduced weight, and cost-effectiveness. The module is made of materials like polyimide, polyester, or polyetherimide. Other key patent filers in this space  include Yazaki and Furukawa Electric.

In terms of application diversity, Riken Technos leads the pack, while TE Connectivity and Aptiv stood in the second and third positions respectively. By means of geographic reach, Aptiv held the top position, followed by Illinois Tool Works and Faurecia.

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.