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

Remember the Lynk & Co Zero Concept from the 2020 Beijing Auto Show? Geely Auto Group has launched it in China as the Zeekr 001, the first model from its brand Zeekr (Chinese: 极氪). Before starting customer deliveries, the company is showcasing it at the 2021 Chengdu Motor Show that opened on August 29.

The Zeekr 001, designed in Sweden at Geely Design Gothenburg, is a coupe-styled luxury E-segment SUV that challenges the Tesla Model X at a bargain price. Three variants are available, 001 WE dual-motor, 001 WE single-motor, and 001 YOU dual-motor, priced at CNY 266,000 (USD 41,000), CNY 266,000 (USD 41,000), and CNY 345,000 (USD 53,000), respectively.

Video Source: YouTube/Geely Group

Zeekr sold out for 2021

The Zeekr 001 is sold out for the entire calendar year. According to a report from China’s autohome.com.cn in June, Zeekr is facing a shortage of parts, mainly because of the limited supply of semiconductor chips. A Reuters report in June citing An Conghui, CEO, Zeekr, suggested that it had paused taking new orders for the 001 SUV, which has received plenty of interest from the public.

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

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, 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.

From the specifications, it’s evident that the Zeekr 001 is one of Geely Auto Group’s advanced EVs: 100 kWh battery pack, 712 km (442 miles) of range, 3.8-second 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration time, and 200+ km/h (124 mph) top speed.

Zeekr 001 2021 Chengdu Motor Show
The Zeekr 001 range (NEDC), depending on the configuration, varies between 526 and 712 km (327 and 442 miles). Image Source: Zeekr

The top-end Zeekr 001 has a dual-motor e-AWD setup, with 400 kW (536 hp) of power and 768 Nm (566 lb.-ft.) of torque. It 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 dual-motorZeekr 001 WE single-motorZeekr 001 YOU dual-motor
Drivetrain LayoutAWDRWDAWD
No. of MotorsTwoOneTwo
Power400 kW200 kW400 kW (536 hp)
Torque768 Nm384 Nm768 Nm (566 lb.-ft.)
Battery Pack Energy Content86 kWh100 kWh100 kWh
Acceleration (0-62 mph)3.8 seconds6.9 seconds3.8 seconds
Top SpeedTBDTBD200+ km/h
Braking (62 mph – 0)TBDTBD34.5 meters
Coefficient of drag (Cd)TBDTBD0.23
Peak Charging PowerTBDTBD360 kW
Range (NEDC)526 km (327 miles)712 km (442 miles)606 km (377 miles)
Specifications of the Zeekr 001
AspectZeekr 001 specification
Length4,970 mm (195.7 in.)
Width1,999 mm (78.7 in.)
Height1,560 mm (61.4 in.)
Wheelbase3,005 mm (118.3 in.)
Exterior dimensions of the Zeekr 001

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 plate 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.

Features

Video: WheelsBoy Youtube channel

The Zeekr 001 features an air suspension, frameless doors, LED headlights and taillights, a LED bar for the taillight, ultra-wide 14.7-inch color head-up display, 8.8-inches 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 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.

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

Positioning & Release Date

TopElectricSUV understands that the Zeekr brand would cater 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 will target the segment, which holds a monthly volume of about 50,000 electric cars.

Customer deliveries of the Zeekr 001 will begin in October 2021 in China and 2022 in overseas markets, TopElectricSUV understands. Production will take place at the Zeekr Intelligent Factory in Hangzhou Bay, China, the same place where its debut took place.

Zeekr says that the supply of some core components is unstable, which can delay the delivery of select variants till January 2022. Deliveries of configurations featuring air suspension and EC light-sensing sunroof will now begin next year. From January 2022, Zeekr will offer customers 1,000 waiting points every day for delayed deliveries, with no upper limit.

Zeekr looks to enter the USA, Canada, and Europe

In an interview with Bloomberg (via YouTube) in April 2021, Conghui revealed that Zeekr 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. Speaking further, he talked about the potential North American 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)

Zeekr brand

Chinese media sites reported after the Geely Auto Group announced the Zeekr brand on March 23 that the production Lynk & Co Zero Concept would become the first Zeekr model. On March 31, 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. With that, the Zeekr brand’s logo also is official.

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:

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. It will launch one new EV every year for five years.

Zeekr 001 rear three quarters
The Zeekr 001’s expected range (NEDC) is 712 km (442 miles). The brand will launch one EV every year for the next 5 years. Image Source: ZGH

According to an earlier post on CarNewsChina.com’s Facebook page, Zeekr EVs will be sold exclusively online, with retail locations, possibly only for display and/or deliveries in big cities. The same was the Lynk & Co models’ plan, but they are being sold via the regular dealerships now, the page notes.

Geely’s SEA electric car platform that underpins the Zeekr 001 would be utilized for the next-generation Smart SUV and the Volvo XC20 projects.

While the Zeekr 001 is a renamed Lynk & Co model, the Zeekr 002, Zeekr 003 (names connoting the second and third launches in the Zeekr model series) could be original products. When asked about the Zeekr 002 and Zeekr 003 during an interview with xinhuanet.com in April 2021, he said that the company hadn’t made announcements about the design of the new products.

Zeekr 001 front three quarters top view
Customer deliveries of the Zeekr 001 begin in October 2021 in China, and 2022 in overseas countries. Image Source: ZGH

Zeekr to privately raise funding

Geely no longer plans a listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange Star Market, and it’s raising funds for its new high-end EV brand Zeekr independently. The move could speed up the development at Zeekr, China Merchants Securities said in a research note, as per a June 2021 report from CnEVPost.

In an announcement on 27 August 2021, Geely revealed that Zeekr will receive an investment of USD 500 million from five parties. Intel Capital Corporation, CATL, Cathay Fortune Corporation, Bilibili and its senior management (together as one entity), and Boyu Capital will be these private investors. Together, as part of a share purchase agreement, they will purchase 126,470,585 Series Pre-A Preferred Shares from Zeekr and own a 5.6% stake in the company. Geely concluded the announcement stating that it would continue looking out for investments to develop the new brand’s business.

FeaturedImage Source: Weibo/极氪ZEEKR