Who Is Zeekr and Why We Should Watch Them
An end to boring EVs as Zeekr 001 sells out in China.
The electric car market is set to become really crowded real soon. VW is launching a new Golf EV, MINI has just announced a convertible EV and over in the People’s Republic, Zeekr has shaken up the EV and is setting their sight on global domination.
Zeekr would have you believe that they are not just another electric car company from the East, born in the post-fossil-fuel dystopia and thus have no links to the legacy car companies of the boomer generations. But like Vinfast from Vietnam and Xpeng from China, they have bold plans to dominate the future of the industry.
The company has a business plan that involves being able to deliver 650,000 cars per year by 2025 and claim a top three global spot in the EV world, which you may think is a pretty grand target when you consider that they only managed 76,000 sales in 2022,
You may not have heard of Zeekr but you will have heard of their big brother Geely, who just happens to own the likes of Volvo and Polestar and Lotus and Proton and Smart and Lynk&Co. This is a group that is getting very active in the EV market. The group’s plan is to share resources across the brands and thus provide greater value for their customers.
What will set them apart, according to design chief, Stefan Sielaff (an ex-Audi man), is their commitment to “No more boring EVs”, so that their cars look premium but not in a conspicuous or vulgar way. Of course, the danger is that they will be serving up slightly modified versions of themselves (think what SEAT is to Volkswagen).
The first of the Zeekr’s (Zeekr X) seems to suggest that this was already happening, with the 001 looking more than a little like the Lynk&Co. The Zeekr X is described as a mid-sized crossover and so will be sitting in the VW ID3 territory.
Top is Lynk&Co and bottom is the Zeekr, both of which would appear to be a slight homage to something that Porsche would be happy to design.
The brand is being designed in Europe–Gothenburg in Sweden to be precise–as the powers-to-be in Geely HQ in China believe that this will make the car more European, even though they will be made in Ningbo, China and are targeting the more mature EV markets in Europe to achieve their meteoric growth in sales.
How will they do globally? Well, Geely also has already penned a deal with Waymo, the Google Self-Driving Car initiative, which has agreed to use the Zeekr SEA-M undercarriage as a basis for the new robo-taxi they hope to launch in California at an as-of-yet undisclosed date. So, best keep an eye out for them.