Zeekr prepares to launch deliveries of the 001
Geely’s premium electric brand Zeekr has started production of its debut model presented in April in the eastern Chinese region of Ningbo. The first deliveries of the Zeekr 001 have already been announced for 23 October.
In addition to its plant for pure electric vehicles in the Ningbo region, Zeekr also moved its headquarters to the coastal city of the same name in the summer. The production facility is said to be a smart factory with 5G+ networking. Areas such as the welding department are fully automated, Zeekr says. Production of the Zeekr 001 has now begun on site. The almost five-metre-long shooting brake is based on the SEA platform of the Geely Holding Group and combines a dual-motor drive output of 400 kW with two battery variants of 86 or 100 kWh. The latter configuration is said to allow a range of 700 kilometres, although this is presumably the NEDC value, as is still customary in China. According to information from August, the model is already sold out for 2021.
Zeekr now says that the production model has been improved again in some areas “to take end-user suggestions into account”. They are also working on the first over-the-air updates to “further improve the ZEEKR Assisted Drive (ZAD) system to give users the best mobility experience even after the first deliveries”. One reading of this section is that, because of the promised market launch date, the vehicle will now be launched without one or two assistance features for the time being, which will then be added later. However, the procedure may of course also correspond to the original plans for regular OTA updates. The manufacturer only knows this for itself.
The first deliveries are actually to take place in a few days – from 23 October – in the factory as well as in presences called Zeekr Experience Centres and Zeekr Spaces all over China. When the Zeekr 001 was unveiled in April, it was said that the model would also be delivered in other countries from 2022. The Geely brand makes no reference to this in the current announcement.
As for its presence network in China, Zeekr plans to open two Zeekr Experience Centres in Hangzhou and Shanghai this year, and 60 smaller Zeekr Spaces to be built in shopping malls and other busy locations across China. There will also be 36 delivery centres and 60 service centres. The brand also plans to “offer subscriptions and battery leasing in due course”. The first Zeekr Spaces opened in Hangzhou and Tianjin last month, according to the company, with ten more to “launch in the coming weeks”.
Alongside its debut electric vehicle, Zeekr has also announced an exclusive fast-charging network in China that will offer charging capacities of up to 360 kW. The plan is to have a total of 2,200 locations with over 20,000 stations by the end of 2023. In the current announcement, Zeekr talks about opening 360 kW charging stations in initially ten cities by the end of the year. And: Third-party charging stations will also be made available to Zeekr vehicle users in 272 cities by then.
Zeekr was founded in March this year and is currently jointly owned by Geely Automobile and Zhejiang Geely Holding. The brand plans to launch one new model in each of the next five years. The electric cars will be built on the SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) electric platform unveiled in September 2020. Initially, Geely is targeting the Chinese market with Zeekr, but later the electric cars could also be exported – as the company wants to “serve the growing global demand for premium electric vehicles”.