We recently wrote about the rise of the Chinese brands and how they are slowly entering the EU market. Not only are they entering at a lower price point that will compete well with the established brands, they are now introducing world beating technology that is hard to ignore.
Range anxiety is still discussed amongst many fleet drivers. This will soon become a distant topic. The Zeekr 001 (Parent Geely) aims to end that discussion once and for all with the announcement of 1000+ KM range from their recently launched SUV.
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 refers 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 hot start in five minutes and fast-charging in ten minutes.
With the same chemical system and the same pack size, it can deliver 13% more power than the 4680 battery which is current used in Tesla models for example.
This new batteries can accomplish an all-round improvement in range, fast-charging, safety, service life, efficiency and low-temperature performance.
The road ahead for Zeekr
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,”
Geely – the parent brand of Zeekr
Geely has more brands in its stable than the Volkswagen Group. It owns Volvo Cars, Polestar, Proton, Lotus, the British carmaker formerly known as Daimler, Geometry, Link & Co, the EV Taxi Company, and probably a few more we don’t even know about. Zeekr cars are built at a state of the art vehicle assembly plant it calls the Intelligent Factory in Ningbo, China, a coastal city south of Shanghai.
It’s too early to say how Europeans will react to the Zeekr brand, but if the price is right, they most definitely will – and clearly the battery advancements will certainly charge up enthusiasm.
Taking into account the entry of new high quality “exotic” brands, companies need to challenge their brand strategy, certainly in times where brand loyalty is not always balanced with premium delivery conditions.