Contrary to all the evidence, a lot of effort goes into the choice of model name for a new car. It should be catchy, easy to pronounce, and somehow sum up the aspirations of the potential buyers.
But now there’s a whole new strand to this delicate task. It’s the electric car.
Chevrolet has undoubtedly bagged the best name for its ground-breaking electric car - the Volt. In energy unit terms, it’s got iconic status. It brings to mind power, sparks and, if the numbers are big enough, sheer danger.
Tesla is not bad either. It’s a unit of magnetism – quite appropriate for the first electric sports car.
Vauxhall’s Volt will be called the Ampera – that’s the SI unit for electric current. Now, shall we speculate on the though process behind that…
If you sort alphabetically, then it appears first in a list of electrical units. Does that mean they had a quick scan and picked the one at the top? Could I see the wine list? I’ll have… a … bottle of the house red, please.
Or did they go through the whole list and decide that it was the best option?
Here’s a not particularly exhaustive list:
1. Ampere 2. Coulomb 3. Farad 4. Henry 5. Joule 6. Kelvin 7. Meter 8. Newton 9. Ohm 10. Pascal 11. Second 12. Siemens 13. Tesla 14. Volt 15. Watt 16. Weber
Weber sounds like an ideal option. It’s a unit of magnetic flux, but… OK… it sounds a bit like a carburettor, which is a bit 20th century.
Coulomb and Joule sound French. What’s the betting that Renault or Peugeot use them?
Farad is the amount of charge a capacitor will hold. It sounds a bit middle-Eastern, but it actually gets its name from one of the giants of British science, Michael Faraday. It’s a great name.
Lots of these have got significant complications: it’s hard to imagine the launch of the Watt (or What?) without recalling Fawlty Towers.
Similarly, it’s difficult to see how any team that presented their boss with the name ‘Second’ could be met with any response other than a handful of P45s.
Which leaves Siemen. I hope everyone steers well clear, but given that Pajero made it into production…
What d’you reckon?