The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by declining battery prices and total costs of ownership, increases in fleet electrification, and the enactment of emissions targets, and growing importance of technologies such as electric vehicle charging systems. In the last three years alone, there have been over 439,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environment Sustainability in Power: DC fast charging EVs.
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 stabilising 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.
90+ innovations will shape the power industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the power industry using innovation intensity models built on over 83,000 patents, there are 90+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, smart lighting system, PCM thermal energy storage and solid electrolyte fuel cell membrane are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Ceramic oxide nuclear fuel, geothermal heat pumps and hybrid PV plants are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are combined-cycle gas turbines, and ethylene co-polymer PV modules which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the power industry
DC fast charging EVs is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
An on-board charger is located inside an EV and converts AC power into DC power before distributing it to charge the vehicle's battery. DC fast charging bypasses the on-board charger and directly charges the battery, significantly reducing the time required to charge an EV. Charging times vary depending on battery size, dispenser output, and other factors, but most vehicles can get an 80% charge in about or under an hour using most currently available DC fast chargers.
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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of DC fast charging EVs.
Key players in DC fast charging EVs – a disruptive innovation in the power industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to DC fast charging EVs
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Toyota Motor is one of the leading patent filers in DC fast charging EVs. The company designs, manufactures, assembles and sells passenger cars, minivans, trucks, and related vehicle parts and accessories- and is also involved in the development of intelligent transport systems. Recently, Toyota announced that it is planning to invest $35 billion into battery-powered electric vehicles and roll out 30 models by 2030. Also, Toyota announced that it partnered with ChargePoint for EV charging ahead of the US launch of the bZ4X electric SUV.
In terms of application diversity, Hyundai Motor Group, Kia, Nissan Motor, and Siemens are the leading patent filers in DC fast charging EVs. Based on geographic reach, Continental, Ford Motor, ABB, and Wobben Properties are the leading patent filers in DC fast charging EVs.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Power.