Our engineers imagine what is possible and turn their ideas into tangible technologies that are driving industry innovation. GM received more clean-energy patents than any other organization during the last two years (2011 and 2012) according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index of U.S. patents. In 2011, GM earned more than 1,100 patents in the U.S. alone. As a result, across all industries, GM placed among the top 25 companies in granted U.S. patents, among the top 10 in foreign (non-Chinese) patent applications filed in China, and among the top five in patent applications filed in Germany. These rankings surpass many information technology and consumer electronics companies, which are often viewed as leaders in innovation, reflecting GM's contributions to the rapidly advancing technical capability of today's vehicles. Recent technology patents have included designs for quieter brakes, enhanced voice recognition technology and a thermal management system for our eAssist fuel-saving technology.
These achievements reflect the accomplishments of our global network of GM engineering centers and research laboratories. Our engineers and scientists — often collaborating with others outside the company — work to identify and develop technologies that will increase energy efficiency and enhance vehicle safety, while meeting the diverse needs of drivers.
Our ability to introduce the Volt, the world's first extended-range electric vehicle with a gas-powered generator, reflects an R&D approach that has changed radically from our past approach. In the past, R&D activity was largely managed out of our Warren, Michigan, R&D headquarters. Today, Warren remains as our headquarters, but this work is now spread throughout several R&D labs around the world and supports an open innovation network of collaborations and strategic alliances with universities, governmental labs, suppliers, companies in other industries and startup enterprises. This approach is proving to be highly effective, with GM labs having a significant increase in patent filings.