U.S, Canada & Europe on the radar of the Zeekr 001 & family [Update]

  • Tesla Model X-level EV priced from just approx. USD 42,000 in China
  • Accelerates from 0 to 62 mph as quickly as 3.8 seconds
  • Delivers a CLTC range of up to 455 miles
  • Could be released in the U.S. by mid-decade

Update: ‘Production & Sales’ and ‘Zeekr looks to enter the USA, Canada & Europe’ sections updated.

Geely Auto Group launched the Lynk & Co Zero Concept from the 2020 Beijing Auto Show in China as the Zeekr 001 in 2021. The 001 electric SUV is the first model from its new brand Zeekr (Chinese: 极氪), and it could have potential in global markets, including the United States.

Hardware & software updates

On July 11, 2022, Zeekr introduced hardware improvements to the 001’s body and chassis for the 2022 model year. Moreover, the company plans to introduce a major OTA update for the EV’s driver comfort, cockpit interface, and smart driving technologies soon.

Zeekr 001 front 2021 Chengdu Motor Show
In addition to the Tesla Model Y, the Zeekr 001 competes with the Nio EC6. Image Source: Weibo/极氪ZEEKR

Zeekr says that the electric SUV can now “self-adapt autonomously” at speeds of up to 130 km/h (81 mph). It automatically slows down on detecting pedestrians or non-motor vehicles approaching and maneuvers the other way on detecting a car door open on the side of the road or a truck approaching on the side.

The July 2022 update has optimized 200+ key items of the Zeekr 001’s user control functions within the cockpit with the adoption of the Snapdragon 8155 7nm system-on-chip (SoC). An all-new intelligent driving system lets the driver switch between driving modes and has an EV-specific distributed traction control system. The latter has brought a 31% improvement in acceleration performance on harsh road surfaces and also snow and ice surfaces. The intelligent driving system enables users to switch between RWD, AWD, and real-time adaptive 4WD drivetrain layouts as required by the prevailing road conditions.

The driving range of the originally launched three configurations — WE RWD, WE AWD, and YOU AWD — has improved (refer to the spec table in the next section). The new ME AWD configuration is positioned between the WE AWD and YOU AWD configurations.

Zeekr 001 interior dashboard
The Zeekr 001 gets an 8.8-inch fully digital instrument cluster and a 15.4-inch central screen. Image Source: ZGH

On March 23, 2022, Zeekr had released the Zeekr OS 2.0 to replace the Zeekr OS 1.1.1 with improvements and new features. According to a report from autohome.com.cn, the v2.0 vehicle software covers 33 ECU units. The updated version brings 5 new functions and optimizes 59 functions, too.

Zeekr OS 2.0 makes the 001 safer with the addition of Adaptive Cruise Control with queuing function, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, and Front Cross-Traffic Alert. The new software has also brought a charging abnormality indication reminder function.

Zeekr had commenced pushing major OTA updates to customers on February 12, 2022. These were the highlights of the first OTA update:

  • The Zeekr OS, which is integrated into the vehicle’s infotainment, digital cluster and vehicle functions, gets its first major update, from 1.0 to 1.1.1 version.
  • The update covers 34 on-board ECUs to enhance multiple areas like navigation, display, voice and more.
  • Earlier, customers were facing problems with respect to manually locking the electrically operated doors. The update solves this problem, allowing owners to open and close doors manually.
  • The update also enables the windows to roll up automatically after the car is locked.
  • More features have been added: music light show song, 5G network switch and 3D transparent car model among others.

To ensure that the early adopters of the brand are satisfied customers, which would help it establish a good rep in the market, Zeekr may continue rolling out periodic updates throughout the 001’s lifecycle.

Specifications

Based on the SEA platform, the Zeekr 001 has an 800-volt operating voltage. It supports rapid charging at 360 kW, and customers can replenish its battery pack to unlock a range of 120 km (75 miles) in just five minutes. In December 2020, Geely Auto Group said that the production car’s battery pack should have a lifespan of 2,000,000 km (1,242,742 miles). 2,200 charging stations with over 20,000 charging facilities are planned for the Zeekr brand by the end of 2023.

Zeekr 001 2021 Chengdu Motor Show
The Zeekr 001 range (CLTC), depending on the configuration, varies between 536 and 732 km (333 and 455 miles). Image Source: Zeekr

From the specifications, it’s evident that the Zeekr 001 is one of Geely Auto Group’s advanced EVs: 400 kW (536 hp) of power, 768 Nm (566 lb.-ft.) of torque, 732 km (455 miles) of CLTC range, a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration time of 3.8 seconds, and a top speed of more than 200 km/h (124 mph). The 001 can accelerate from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) 0.3 seconds quicker than the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo’s 4.1 seconds (4S variant). The premium Chinese EV boasts a 0.23 Cd value.

AspectZeekr 001 WE RWD SpecificationZeekr 001 WE AWD SpecificationZeekr 001 ME AWD SpecificationZeekr 001 YOU AWD Specification
Drivetrain LayoutRWDAWDAWDAWD
No. of MotorsOneTwoTwoTwo
Power200 kW400 kW400 kW400 kW
Torque384 Nm768 Nm768 Nm768 Nm
Battery Pack Energy Content100 kWh86 kWh100 kWh100 kWh
Acceleration (0-62 mph)6.9 seconds3.8 seconds3.8 seconds3.8 seconds
Top SpeedTo Be DisclosedTo Be DisclosedTo Be Disclosed200+ km/h
Braking (62 mph – 0)To Be DisclosedTo Be DisclosedTo Be Disclosed34.5 meters
Coefficient of drag (Cd)To Be DisclosedTo Be DisclosedTo Be Disclosed0.23
Peak Charging PowerTo Be DisclosedTo Be DisclosedTo Be Disclosed360 kW
New 2022 Range (CLTC)732 km536 km616 km650 km
Specifications of the Zeekr 001 (Source: Zeekr)
DimensionMeasurement
Length4,970 mm (195.7 in.)
Width1,999 mm (78.7 in.)
Height1,548 mm (60.9 in.)/1,560 mm (61.4 in.)
Wheelbase3,005 mm (118.3 in.)
Ground ClearanceWE RWD, WE AWD, & ME AWD – 174 mm (6.9 in.)
YOU AWD – 117-200 mm (4.6-7.9 in.)
Cargo Volume2,144 liters (75.7 cu. ft.)
Zeekr 001 dimensions (Source: Zeekr)

The 001 WE RWD has a 100 kWh battery pack and a rear motor. The 001 WE AWD uses a smaller, 86 kWh battery pack but it has an additional electric motor at the front that doubles the power and torque. The ME AWD and YOU AWD variants both have the same dual-motor powertrain, but they can travel longer, thanks to a 100 kWh battery pack.

Suppliers

According to a report from sohu.com, the Zeekr 001’s battery pack comes from CATL and Wei Rui, and Nidec and Wei Rui supply its electric drive. The report suggests that Zeekr offers a lifetime warranty for the first EV, including its tri-motor system. The battery pack consists of NI55+ cells, and Zeekr is confident that it would not catch fire on the inside in the case of a collision or engulf in flames when punctured. Wei Rui manufactures the standard 86 kWh battery pack, and Ningde produces the bigger, 100 kWh battery pack.

BorgWarner has a hand in the Zeekr 001’s thermal management. It supplies the electric SUV’s coolant heater, which helps to maintain a consistent temperature inside the battery pack and its cells. The coolant heater allows maintaining an ideal cabin temperature as well. It uses a thick film element (TFE), and its heating elements are immersed in coolant to keep the power losses in check. BorgWarner makes it in single and dual plate versions, both integrated into aluminum housings, but it hasn’t said which of the two goes into the Zeekr 001. Its power ranges from 3 to 10 kW.

Zeekr 001 Performance variant

According to a report xchuxing.com released on March 23, 2022, Zeekr will launch a more powerful 001 at the end of 2022. The go-faster 001 could be an upgraded version of the current top-of-the-line YOU AWD configuration or a new configuration, with a likely 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration time of around two seconds, it is reported.

Zeekr 001 Plus – 1,000+ km range variant

Announcing its results for the first half of 2022 on August 18, 2022, Geely Automobile Holdings Limited revealed that it plans to launch a Zeekr 001 Plus in the second half of 2022. The ‘Plus’ suffix used for the name of the 001 variant indicated that it will deliver a longer range than the standard variant, which can travel up to 732 km (455 miles) on a full charge.

Zeekr 001 Plus front three quarter
A picture Zeekr released with its announcement on August 27, 2022, shows a prototype of the Zeekr 001 with a range of over 1,000 km (621 miles), presumably the Zeekr 001 Plus. Image Source: Zeekr

On August 27, 2022, Zeekr and CATL announced that a Zeekr 001 with a range of over 1,000 km (621 miles) will become available in Q2 2023. This announcement most likely referred to the Zeekr 001 Plus. Zeekr and CATL say that the Zeekr 001 that can travel up to more than 1,000 km (621 miles) on a full charge will have Qilin batteries.

Qilin batteries are based on CATL’s third generation cell-to-pack (CTP) technology. CATL says that these batteries achieve the world’s highest integration level, with a volume utilization efficiency of 72% and an energy density of up to 255 Wh/kg. They support a hot start in five minutes and fast-charging in ten minutes. The same battery technology has also been used on the Zeekr 009.

Features

Video: WheelsBoy Youtube channel

The Zeekr 001 features an air suspension, frameless doors, LED headlights and taillights, a LED bar for the taillight, an ultra-wide 14.7-inch color head-up display, 8.8-inch fully digital instrument cluster, 15.4-inch central touchscreen, Nappa leather upholstery, and a Yamaha sound system. The premium electric SUV offers auto-opening doors that open when the driver approaches it as well.

Zeekr 001 interior dashboard driver side
The Zeekr 001 features auto-opening doors like high-end European luxury cars. Image Source: YouTube/Geely Group

The air suspension system, standard in the YOU AWD configuration, comes from Vibrac, and Tenneco supplies the electric SUV’s electromagnetic shock absorption system. The driver can adjust the vehicle’s height in five levels and keep it anywhere between 117 and 200 mm. The ground clearance of the other two configurations is 174 mm.

The Zeekr 001 features Mobileye SuperVision, a full-stack ADAS that uses 11 high-res cameras (seven 8MP long-range and four parking) to provide the vehicle with full visual coverage of its surrounding. Powered by two 7nm EyeQ 5 SoCs, it enables hands-free driving on a wide range of road types, including urban roads. Full functioning isn’t available yet, but as stated earlier in the story, Zeekr is improving the autonomous driving capabilities of the 001 with OTA updates.

Zeekr expects to give the 001 full SuperVision capabilities with OTA updates by the end of 2022, as per a joint announcement from Geely Holding Group and Mobileye dated September 26, 2022. That announcement also revealed that more than 40,000 001s equipped with SuperVision are already on the road.

Zeekr 001 Price

ConfigurationZeekr 001 Price
WE RWDCNY 299,000 (~USD 41,000)
WE AWDCNY 299,000 (~USD 41,000)
YOU AWDCNY 349,000 (~USD 48,000)
YOU AWDCNY 386,000 (~USD 53,000)
Zeerk 001 prices in China

Prices of the Zeekr 001 in China start at CNY 299,000 (approx. USD 41,000). Designed in Sweden at Geely Design Gothenburg, the coupe-styled luxury E-segment SUV is also available on a subscription basis.

Zeekr Subscription, first announced in Hangzhou, allows customers to subscribe to the 001 monthly for 1-12 months. Plus, there are short-tenure options: 3 days, 7 days, and 15 days. The WE single-motor and WE dual-motor configurations are available for subscription.

Subscribers can choose from four exterior colors: white, blue, gray, and black. Customization options include the Yamaha sound system and the intelligent thermostatic AC package. Zeekr provides several complimentary items with the subscription, such as face masks, disinfectant wipes, safety hammers, fire extinguishers, umbrellas, paper towels, mineral water, smartphone charging cables, foot mats, and more.

Positioning

TopElectricSUV understands that the Zeekr brand caters to the premium to luxury BEV segment. In contrast, Lynk & Co caters to the premium hybrid + ICE segment followed by the new mobility segment in Europe. Zeekr targets the segment that holds a monthly volume of about 50,000 electric cars in China.

Production & Sales

Zeekr 001 production commencement
Zeekr started manufacturing the 001 at its factory in Hangzhou Bay, China, on October 19, 2021, and has rolled out 50,000 units. Image Source: ZGH

Series production of the Zeekr 001 began on October 19, 2021, and customer deliveries in China commenced on the 23rd of that month. The first 50 customers got their Zeekr 001 outside the production facility in Ningbo (Zhejiang Province). On October 12, 2022, Zeekr announced that it had made 50,000 copies.

Between January and September 2022, Zeekr sold 39,474 units of the 001. Counting the deliveries from October 23, 2022, cumulative sales of the brand’s first model at the end of September 2022 stood at 45,481 units.

Exclusive charging stations

Zeekr 001 customers get to charge at dedicated Zeekr charging stations. These charging stations come under a sub-brand called Zeekr Power. By September 30, 2022, Zeekr had 512 self-built charging stations in 102 cities (excluding special-use stations), including three different types of charging stations with different power capacities. Currently, the third-party charging network covers more than 350,000 charging devices in 335 cities across the country, as per Pandaily.

Zeekr looks to enter the USA, Canada & Europe

In an interview with Bloomberg (via YouTube) in April 2021, An Conghui, CEO of Zeekr, revealed that the brand plans to go global early this decade. European countries are the first targeted overseas markets, and later, the United States and Canada may also get Zeekr EVs. “We will focus on the Chinese market this year, and we expect to enter the European market by the end of 2022 or in 2023,” Conghui said on the launch of overseas operations. Further, he talked about the potential U.S. launch:

North America is in our plan for the next step. That will happen after 2022. We’ll announce our plans for North America in the future.

An Conghui, CEO of Zeekr brand (Bloomberg Interview on April 15, 2021)

On January 10, 2022, Chinese portal Cls published a report stating that Zeekr plans to ship its first units to Europe in early 2023, with a target of 100,000 units by 2025 in exports.

According to a report autohome.com.cn released on November 2, 2022, the company will announce its overseas launch plan in late November 2022. It will begin its global operations with European markets in 2023. Zeekr has two models in its portfolio – 001 and 009. It plans to introduce a new SUV and a sedan in 2023, followed by two models in 2024, expanding its line-up to six models. The company may reveal the cars shortlisted for Europe when it details the overseas launch plan.

Zeekr Care

At the 2021 Guangzhou Auto Show, Zeekr announced a new user service brand called Zeekr Care. Zeekr has set up an exclusive support team called ‘Krypton Orange,’ and users can call them 24 hours a day if they encounter a vehicle problem while driving. Zeekr Care includes a 24-hour online distress support service as well. Zeekr Care services will be available in 208 cities in 31 provinces across China.

Zeekr is reportedly developing a physical key for the 001 and plans to offer it by the end of 2022. The brand should see to it that it clears out niggles before commencing exports.

Zeekr brand

Chinese media sites reported after the Geely Auto Group announced the Zeekr brand on March 23, 2021, that the production Lynk & Co Zero Concept would become the first Zeekr model. On March 31, 2021, that’s exactly what ensued; the Zheijang Geely Holding Group’s principal auto division announced the road-ready version of the EV concept as the Zeekr 001.

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group structure
The new EV brand will come under the Geely Auto Group division of Zheijang Geely Holding Group. Image Source: ZGH

Geely Auto Group is one of the six verticals of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, comprising Geely Auto, Link & Co, Geometry, Proton, Lotus, and smart brands. Zeekr is a new addition to this business division. Geely Automobile Holdings and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group will jointly own it in a 51:49 ratio. According to the official announcement, Zeekr is “a new electric mobility technology and solutions company.” It is one more addition to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s complex structure, which looked like this before its announcement:

Zeekr 001 rear three quarters
The Zeekr 001’s maximum range (NEDC) is 732 km (455 miles). The brand said in March 2021 that it will launch one EV every year for the next 5 years. Image Source: ZGH

Using the parent company’s SEA platform, Zeekr will launch a wide range of high-tech EVs that offer luxury-class comfort and performance. The battery technologies, battery management systems, electric motor technologies, and EV supply chain support will be their own, though.

TopElectricSUV says

For a fraction of the price of the Tesla Model X, the Zeekr 001 has a sporty design, phenomenal performance, high-end technologies, and a worry-free driving range. While it cannot compete with Tesla’s seating capacity or peak performance, it is a good, zero-emission choice for young drivers looking for their first high-performance vehicle.

Zeekr 001 FAQs

What is the Zeekr 001 price?

The Zeekr 001 costs CNY 299,000 (approx. USD 41,000) onwards in China.

What are the Zeekr 001 competitors?

Price-wise, the Zeekr 001 rivals the Tesla Model Y, in China. Indirect competitors include the Nio ET5 as well.

What is the Zeekr 001 range?

The Zeekr 001 can travel up to 732 km (455 miles) on a full charge as per CLTC.

Featured Image Source: Weibo/极氪ZEEKR