People have a lot of fears with electric cars/extended range electric cars. Will the government subsidies distort the market? Can manufacturers be able to sell them profitably? Are they really that environmentally sound? But the one which gets everyone is “range anxiety”. Will I have enough juice to get me home? It’s an issue which manufacturers are dealing with in their own ways. GM has come up with their own way of dealing with it; they’re trademarking it: With range anxiety being trademarked, someone just dreams the word, and GM’s lawyers will be on top of him, and make him surrender the illicit dream.
The Register reports that GM has applied to trademark the term “range anxiety”. A GM spokesperson (via Jalopnik) said “It’s something we call ‘range anxiety’ and it’s real…That’s something we need to be very aware of when we market (the Volt). We’re going to position this as a car first and electric second…people do not want to be stranded on the way home from work.” Even Joel Ewanick had a few words to say about this. “We’ve been here before,” probably referring to GM’s EV-1, “We have first-hand experience with what the issues are.” GM-Volt.com also quotes Mr Ewanick as saying “We’ve got a lot of education to do with Volt because it’s a whole new category of vehicle”.
The NY Times reports that Rob Peterson, GM spokesperson said of the application “We’ve been told the process will take nine months or so…but I’m not an attorney so I can’t say for sure.” A good trademark attorney will lecture his client on the “first use” principle. I mean, “range anxiety” already has a Wikipedia entry, and no “citation needed.” Quick! Everybody fire up Google! Who said it first? Now if GM can produce a 50 year old calendar that has “range anxiety” on it, they have a good chance of prevailing.
And what says Tesla about GM gaining the monopole on range anxiety? Ricardo Reyes, spokesperson for Tesla said “By all means, GM can have ‘range anxiety’. To Roadster owners, the term is as irrelevant as ‘gas stop’ or ‘smog check’. We are, however, looking into trademarking ‘Tesla grin'”. Trouble is when a Volt runs out of juice, it can pull into a petrol station and fill up. When a Tesla runs out, it needs to find a power outlet and charge for days. Not hours, DAYS. Could this be the start of a war between GM and Tesla, with Nissan (and their Leaf) getting involved later? I hope so. That means there will be plenty to write about.
Gotta go. I’m searching my posts for range anxiety.