There’s no getting around the fact that the words “bolt” and “volt” sound similar.
So Chevrolet was likely inviting confusion when it decided to name its 238-mile electric car the Bolt EV, while continuing to offer the Volt plug-in hybrid.
It’s easy for English speakers to confuse “B” and “V” sounds on occasion, after all.
DON’T MISS: Why ‘Bolt’ Is A Really Terrible Name For Chevy’s Electric Car (Jan 2015)
But it seems the Bolt and Volt names pose an even greater problem in Korean.
In that language, the names Bolt and Volt are pronounced the same way, and written the same way as well, noted a recent WardsAuto piece on the naming confusion.
Like Spanish speakers, Koreans do not do “B” and “V” sounds the way English speakers do, and the Hangul written symbols for “Bolt” and “Volt” are identical.
To alleviate confusion, General Motors’ Korean division will add the English letters “EV” to the Hangul spelling of Bolt in corporate literature.
The carmaker also plans to rely on the full English spellings of Volt and Bolt EV to distinguish the two models.
GM Korea isn’t too concerned about the issue, because it doesn’t expect to sell the Bolt EV, at least not right away.
ALSO SEE: 2017 Chevy Bolt EV Development: GM, LG Chem Reveal Deep Partnership (Oct 2015)
There is no plan to offer the Bolt EV in South Korea at launch, although it may be one of two international markets that will get the car after the start of U.S. sales, a spokesperson told Wards.
Both the naming issue and the lack of concrete plans to offer the Bolt EV in Korea are somewhat awkward, as local firm LG Chem did a considerable amount of development work on the electric car.
As part of a far-reaching partnership with GM, LG Chem provided not only battery cells, but other major components like the electric drive motor, onboard charger, and the infotainment system.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, road test, California coastline, Aug 2016
LG provided so many components that the car is sometimes referred to as the “LG Bolt” by industry analysts, according to Wards.
This was likely helpful in realizing the relatively fast transition of the Bolt EV from concept car to production.
MORE: Bolt EV Powertrain: How Did GM And LG Collaborate On Design, Production?
The original Bolt EV concept debuted at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, and GM promises that the production version will arrive in showrooms before the end of the year.
While it is unclear whether the Bolt EV will ever be offered in the country where much of its development work was done, the Volt is available there.
Chevy launched it in Korea just recently, but is primarily targeting car-sharing services rather than individual buyers.
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