TOKYO/PALO ALTO, U.S. -- When examining Tesla's expansive portfolio of patents, it's not only the futuristic technology that stands out -- from a built-in valet feature that eliminates long walks through the parking lot or the impressive acceleration in its latest redesign -- but also the sheer volume of innovation that helps it maintain its position as the world's leading manufacturer of electric vehicles.
Tesla remains a poster child for headline-grabbing innovations. The company started delivering its fully redesigned luxury Model S sedan in June. The highest-performing model in that product line, the Model S Plaid, can go from zero to 60 mph (96.6 kph) in just 1.99 seconds, which Tesla says is the fastest for a consumer vehicle.
But what sets Tesla apart from the competition is the less conspicuous technology that does not have much to do with driving ability, at least on the surface. Apart from artificial intelligence and other advanced tech, the company has ramped up development of safety features in recent years.
Tesla has accumulated over 580 patents from its founding in 2003 through March 2021, according to a study of applications and disclosures Nikkei conducted jointly with Intellectual Property Landscape, a Tokyo analytics company.
Most of the patents, 281, can be classified as electrical machinery, followed by 168 tied to transportation, a category that includes user operation. Patents relevant to user experience have climbed in particular.
In 2018, Tesla...
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