A new study of the global auto industry's patent activity by Thomson Reuters reveals a 182% increase in patents related to alternative power and technologies since 2006.
A total of 14,977 unique inventions have been patented in the last year studied alone (2011). Overall, Toyota led the way during the five-year period with 1,901 patents, followed by Honda (587), Denso, General Motors, and Panasonic (maker of Toyota Prius batteries).
"With stringent new fuel economy standards introduced in the U.S. that require global auto manufacturers to double their average mileage requirements, car companies have gotten very serious about alternative power," said Bob Stembridge, an intellectual property analyst at Thomson Reuters and author of the study. "The aggressive R&D efforts of some of the leading manufacturers suggest that consumer options for alternative power will grow considerably in the coming decade."
The new Cadillac ELR may be all of the above, however, even after returning the car to its rightful owners, I'm still scratching my head. I'm wondering what the ELR's true reason for being is. I keep asking myself the question that's been on many experts' lips since the ELR launched: Why?