Report: Global confidence dips in UK’s low-carbon vehicle technology market

The research, conducted by GovGrant, has revealed a significant drop in active patents held by multinational companies in the UK market, hitting a five-year low.

According to the report, economic uncertainty and the unpredictable political landscape have cast a shadow over investor confidence in the UK market.

The transition in the market preceded Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recent decision to delay the phase-out of diesel and petrol cars by five years, which researchers believe could further dampen investor appetites.

The report highlights a three-fold decline in foreign investment towards protecting low-carbon vehicle innovation in the UK over the past five years. This plummet in global confidence is evident in the sharp drop in patents from foreign filers, witnessing a notable 79% decrease compared to previous years.

Among the leading countries in low-carbon innovation, including Germany, the US and Japan, a considerable decline in patent filings within the UK has been noted.

The US saw an 84% reduction, while Germany’s filings decreased by 73%, indicating a perceptible shift away from perceiving the UK as a crucial market for their innovations.

GovGrant’s policy lead Akshay Thaman said: “Seeing foreign filers drop off the radar, means it’s likely that they do not view the UK as important a market to protect as it once was.

“Businesses will protect in markets where they will manufacture, sell and use those technologies or are threatened by competition that might protect in those key markets.”

Shifting market dynamics

The report notes that the market was previously dominated by foreign players, but within five years, the top patent filers in the UK no longer rank dominant US companies such as Boeing GE in the top ten. RTX Corp, while still ranking second, has decreased its filing volume.

Nevertheless, amidst this downturn in foreign investment, a considerable surge has been observed in the number of low-carbon vehicle patents filed by UK-based companies. This increase of nearly a third (31%) over five years has propelled the UK to the sixth spot globally in terms of the volume of patents filed in this domain.

Rolls-Royce stands out as the first UK-owned company among the top patent filers in the UK, marking a change in the landscape. Additionally, Tata Motors, heavily influenced by the UK, contributes all 72 filings through Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).

Earlier this year JLR’s owner, Tata Group, confirmed plans to build a 40GW battery manufacturing plant in the UK.

The report concludes that amid economic uncertainties and political intricacies, UK-based entities are stepping up their innovation efforts, while traditional global players are reevaluating their approaches to engaging in the UK’s green vehicle technology market.

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