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

Update: ‘Zeekr looks to enter the USA, Canada & Europe’ section updated.

Remember the Lynk & Co Zero Concept from the 2020 Beijing Auto Show? Geely Auto Group launched it in China as the Zeekr 001, the first model from its brand Zeekr (Chinese: 极氪). Customer deliveries began late last year, and we’ve discussed that and more in this article.

Zeekr 001 front 2021 Chengdu Motor Show
In addition to the Tesla Model X, the Zeekr 001 competes 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 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.

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 SpeedTo Be DisclosedTo Be Disclosed200+ km/h
Braking (62 mph – 0)To Be DisclosedTo Be Disclosed34.5 meters
Coefficient of drag (Cd)To Be DisclosedTo Be Disclosed0.23
Peak Charging PowerTo Be DisclosedTo Be Disclosed360 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.)
Height1,548 mm (60.9 in.)/1,560 mm (61.4 in.)
Wheelbase3,005 mm (118.3 in.)
Official Zeekr 001 specifications

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.

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, standard only in the YOU dual-motor 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.

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

Zeekr 001 price

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 were launched in 2021, 001 WE dual-motor, 001 WE single-motor, and 001 YOU dual-motor, priced between CNY 281,000 (USD 44,085) and CNY 360,000 (USD 56,479).

On January 1, 2022, autohome.com.cn published a new report saying that the Zeekr 001 YOU dual-motor has received a price hike of CNY 8,000 (USD 1,255) and costs CNY 368,000 (USD 57,735) now. The cost of the air suspension option for the WE trim has changed to CNY 28,000 (USD 4,393). The company has introduced a new loan scheme with a low down payment and a low-interest rate (2.99%), too.

Positioning

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 in China.

Zeekr 001 production commencement
Zeekr started manufacturing the 001 at its factory in Hangzhou Bay, China, on October 19, 2021. 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). 199 Zeekr 001 SUVs went to their customers in the first month of sales (October 2021). In November 2021, Zeekr delivered 2012 units of the 001 SUV, as per a report from autohome.com.cn. In December 2021, reports said that Zeekr managed to deliver 3,796 units in China, which marks a monthly growth of 88.9%.

Zeekr said that the supply of some core components is unstable, which could delay the delivery of select variants till this month (January 2022). Deliveries of configurations featuring air suspension and EC light-sensing sunroof were going to begin this year. From this month, Zeekr was going to offer customers 1,000 waiting points every day for delayed deliveries, with no upper limit.

Long waiting periods could turn potential Zeekr 001 customers into other EVs. According to a report from ifengweekly.com (via CnEVPost), Zeekr 001 prospects are discussing buying the Nio ET5 instead in multiple chat groups. In one of these chat groups, more than 50 out of the 200+ members were holding a 001 reservation and they switched to the ET5 within just 24 hours of its debut.

Exclusive charging stations

Zeekr 001 customers get to charge at dedicated Zeekr charging stations, the first of which is in Hangzhou. These charging stations come under a sub-brand called Zeekr Power. Zeekr Power planned to open a total of 290 charging stations in the brand’s home country and be present in more than ten major cities by the end of 2021.

Future Zeekr EVs

Geely Auto Group envisions Zeekr to contribute 650,000 units to its annual sales every year by 2025. To grow sales to such a level, Zeekr will launch new models and expand operations to cover overseas markets. In November 2021, Zhao Yuhui, Vice President, Zeekr, told autohome.com.cn that the company will launch six models in the next three years (by 2024). Though he didn’t confirm the shapes, one of the new models is reportedly the Zeekr 002 electric MPV.

Future Zeekr models will include a new autonomous ride-hailing MPV for use in the Waymo One autonomous ride-hailing fleet in the U.S. The autonomous ride-hailing EV will be available in two configurations – with and without driver controls. The Chinese automaker is developing the van at the China Europe Vehicle Technology Centre, its R&D facility in Gothenburg, Sweden. Waymo will integrate the Waymo Driver autonomous driving software and hardware after Zeekr ships the vehicle to the United States.

2024 Zeekr EV to get L4 autonomous capability

In further developments, along with Intel’s Mobileye, Zeekr will introduce a new EV with Level 4 (L4) autonomous driving capabilities. In Level 4, the vehicle can execute all driving tasks in nearly all conditions without needing driver attention.

The autonomous driving-specializing Zeekr EV will feature Mobileye’s True Redundancy sensing, Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS)-based driving policy, and Road Experience Management (REM), and Geely’s SEA platform. Mobileeye’s EyeQ SoC will power the autonomous driving hardware, and there will be six EyeQ SoCs in total. This Zeekr EV will be a global model, and if everything goes as planned, it will debut in China in 2024, before a global rollout.

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. The report mentions that Zeekr aims to deliver 70,000 units in 2022 in China.

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.

To ensure that the early adopters of the brand are satisfied customers, which would help it establish a good rep in the market, Zeekr would improve cars with software updates and other necessary measures through their lifecycle. Another report from autohome.com.cn says that the company took the feedback of the 001 from its customers recently and will revise it accordingly.

Zeekr is developing a physical key for the 001 and plans to offer it starting this year. A priority is fixing the unstable connection of the app-based digital key. Customers have also reported issues with the rear seat tilting process, such as weird noises and smoothness. The company may address the issues related to the rear seats also this year. Reportedly, there’s a problem with the electric door opening feature as well, and that could also get a fix in the coming months. Zeekr 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.

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:

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

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.

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.

Zeekr 001 rear three quarters
The Zeekr 001’s maximum range (NEDC) is 712 km (442 miles). The brand said in March 2021 that it will launch one EV every year for the next 5 years. Image Source: ZGH

Geely’s SEA electric car platform that underpins the Zeekr 001 would be utilized for the next-generation Smart SUV and the Volvo city car 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 to privately raise funding

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

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.

Zeekr 001 FAQs

What is the Zeekr 001 price?

The Zeekr 001 costs CNY 281,000 (USD 44,059) 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 712 km (442 miles) on a full charge as per NEDC.

Featured Image Source: Weibo/极氪ZEEKR