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Chevy EV denied trademark for "Bolt" name

by Ben Hsu

The name is already used on a Yamaha motorcycle.

The Chevy Bolt is facing branding issues and may be forced to change its name before the car goes on sale.

It's not even the fact that "Bolt" sounds too much like "Volt," the bowtie brand's plug-in hybrid. That issue was resolved in April when GM decided to double-down on olt-suffixed names. Instead, the EV compact unveiled in Detroit earlier year is getting the smack-down from the US Patent and Trademark Office itself.

The USPTO has suspended the Bolt name because it's already in use by Yamaha for an entry-level cruiser under its Star brand. According to patent and trademark law, if two companies providing similar or related goods or services apply for the same trademark the earlier applicant wins. Yamaha's application was filed back in 2012, while Chevy filed in 2014.

As clever as the Bolt-Volt naming scheme would have been, Chevy did acknowledge that it may cause some confusion. At the time, president of GM North America Alan Batey said they had until February 2016 to finalize the name,

The Bolt, or whatever it is ultimately renamed, is expected to hit showrooms in 2017 for about $37,500. The 200-mile range EV is set to compete with the Tesla Model 3, which will be priced at $35,000.

Live images by Brian Williams.

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