Alternative powertrains lead the patent race

  • 11-Jan-2013 04:50 EST
2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid XLE_13.jpg

Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system (shown here in the 2013 Avalon Hybrid) presumably accounted for a significant number of the automaker's 1901 published patent applications and granted patents in 2011.  

The number of patents and patent applications related to automotive alternative powertrains has increased dramatically in the past few years, according to a report by Thomson Reuters. Published patent applications and granted patents for alt-powered vehicles totaled 22,255 in 2011, the last year for which figures were available. In comparison, the total for vehicle and engine design in 2011 was 15,301, second most on the list of 10 technology areas. In 2006, the first year covered in the report, vehicle engine and design led the patent and patent-applications list with 12,346, with alt-powered vehicles in fourth place at 7904. The increase for alternative-powered vehicles over the study period was 182%; for vehicle engine and design it was 24%. Behind alternative-powered vehicles and vehicle engine and design in the patents race for 2011 were vehicle navigation (13,221), seats, seatbelts, and airbags (11,204), safety systems (10,829), transmission systems (7569), suspension systems (7383), steering systems (6776), security systems (5777), and braking systems (5525).

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