The Zhejiang Geely Holding Group – perhaps better known simply as Geely – has unveiled a new marque at the Shanghai motor show, positioned to take on a raft of established performance divisions with a range of EVs.
Called Zeekr, the new brand joins Geely’s portfolio of brands which already includes Volvo, Polestar, Lotus, Proton and lesser known brands like Lynk & Co, Geometry, and LEVC – the maker of London cabs.
At a glance the Zeekr 001 borrows heavily from Lynk & Co’s existing design language. Without any significant attempt to differentiate the new brand, or its first model, the 001 is an almost exact replica of Lynk & Co’s 2020 Zero concept.
According to a statement from Geely, the Zeekr 001 was designed around the directive of “No More Boring EVs”. As a result the 001 features front and rear electric motors for a combined 400kW and a 0-100km/h claim of 3.8 seconds.
Under the sleek five-door ‘shooting brake’ bodywork sits a version of Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (or SEA) platform – an EV chassis that Geely will use to underpin a range of future electric vehicles, including autonomous taxis, which almost sounds the opposite of not being boring.
Be that as it may, at the announcement of the SEA platform in late 2020 Geely claimed the platform would come equipped with a 600kW output and sub four-second sprint capabilities, suggesting a more potent 001 could still arrive.
As a scalable platform SEA can adapt to wheelbases ranging from 1800mm to 3300mm, thought in this instance Zeekr’s debut model sits on a 3005mm wheelbase, longer than most mainstream seven-seat SUVs, with an overall length of 4970mm, width of 1999mm and height of 1560mm.
Alongside something like the stylistically similar Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo the 001 rides on a 55mm longer wheelbase, is 79mm shorter in length, is 62mm wider but sits 143mm taller.
In the Zeekr application, design and engineering work is claimed to have been carried out in Sweden. The 001 rides on air suspension capable of automatically adjusting between 117mm to 205mm of clearance depending on conditions.
Along with the sub 4.0-second sprint time, braking from 100km/h to zero is possible in a claimed 34 metres. The 400kW power output is backed by 700Nm of torque.
A choice of 86kWh and 100kWh batteries will be offered, with driving range claimed to be 700km – and although Geely hasn't said which battery will deliver that range, safe money says that range pairs with the higher-capacity battery.
With the potential to accept a 360kW charge, the 001’s 800-volt electrical system will be potentially able to add 120km of driving range in five minutes. Zeekr has also announced it will roll out its own high-speed charging network within China.
On the tech front, the Zeekr 001 includes automatic doors that can open when they detect passengers approaching and close the doors upon entry. Facial recognition tech is also able to adjust the vehicle to a user’s predefined settings.
Over-the-air software updates are promised for the life of the vehicle, with quarterly updates promising to keep ownership "highly competitive" – whatever that means.
Zeekr is set to go on sale in October 2021 in China with a global expansion set to follow in 2022, for the time being, a local launch looks less likely. Instead, Geely’s Polestar EV brand is set to arrive in Australia during the second half of 2021. A successful launch for Polestar could be motive enough for Geely to consider bringing Zeekr.