Companies leading the race for new electric vehicle technologies

The “pain at the pump” experienced by motorists around the world amid Russia’s war on Ukraine has fueled debate about whether electric vehicles could and should become a more viable option.

As electric vehicles (EVs) grow in popularity – with 6.6 million EV sales in 2021*, more than double the number sold in 2020 – they also account for just over 4% of all new cars sold in the world.

So, what is the future of electric vehicles?

IFI CLAIMS Patent Services – a digital science company dedicated to providing the world’s most trusted patent data for research, innovation and technology – says patent applications reveal critical details about the future strength of the electric vehicle industry and the true innovation leaders in the field.

A recent IFI report summarizes all electric vehicle-related patent applications filed by companies around the world over the past 10 years. Its findings have now been published on the IFI CLAIMS website.

Over 1,000 patent applications have been filed by startups, covering technologies such as: batteries; energy storage, supply, distribution and associated circuits; propulsion systems; electrodynamic braking systems; non-electric variable control; traffic control; hybrid vehicle control systems; and data processing.

The EV report provides important insights into current trends and the future of the transportation industry and clearly indicates that electric vehicles are finally entering the mainstream: After years of Elon Musk and Tesla’s solitary race to cultivate and prove a broad market for electric vehicles, the past year has been littered with a procession of announcements by mainstream automakers – GM and Ford, among others – with big promises backed by huge investments in the electrification of their fleets.

“An important part of our work at IFI CLAIMS is to enable our clients to follow technology trends and better understand which innovative companies could become targets for mergers and acquisitions,” said Mike Baycroft, CEO of IFI.

“What we can see in the patent filing landscape is considerable activity from key ‘startup stars’ – smaller, innovative players that should be of interest to investors.

“Patent landscapes allow us to identify these smaller companies and the underlying technology trends that are driving change in the electric vehicle industry today,” he said.

Some of the leading startups of the past 10 years include:

  • Sakti3 (69 patents issued), a battery company acquired by Dyson in 2015
  • NovaTorque (37 patents), manufacturer of electric motors for industrial and commercial applications
  • Visedo (35 patents), developer of electrical transmission components
  • Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification (WAVE) (25 patents since 2011), a provider of wireless charging solutions for heavy duty electric vehicles; acquired in 2021 by Ideanomics.

Some of the leading startups of the past five years include:

  • Polyplus Battery, Terrawatt Technology and Soteria Battery Innovation – a combined total of 84 patents, all in the field of EV batteries
  • Nucurrent and Solarlytics – 115 patents combined in energy storage.

“These companies are certainly not household names, but their patent applications are likely to attract the attention of much larger investors,” Baycroft said.

The electric vehicle industry is just one example of the information provided by IFI CLAIMS. For more industry insights, visit IFI Live 1000 CLAIMSa free tool that uses data from the top 1,000 companies that received US patents in 2021.

* Figures from the International Energy Agency.

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