Turns out, there is a quick way to get a lot of free publicity for your electric car company. Take the biggest name in leaks and apply it to you plug-in vehicles. That's the idea behind Chinese electric car technology company Hong Yuan Lan Xiang's (HYLX) new tradmark registration application. The name in question? Snowden. Yes, Edward Snowden.

Yes, somehow, the company thinks the highly controversial Snowden is just the thing to catch the public's eye. Company manager Zhu Hefeng told the South China Morning Post that HYLX is "talking with China's domestic carmakers, and we aim to launch cars equipped with our technology by the end of this year." That technology – unknown to us before now, so at least the publicity stunt is effective – includes removable batteries, EV conversions and ways to fast charge EVs. In other words, it runs the gamut.

What probably won't run is the Chinese government actually granting HYLX the application. Trademark expert Wang Hao told the SCMP that it's likely to be denied for being too "political." You don't say.

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