Geely will therefore launch its 13th brand, under the sweet name of Zeekr. A new attempt to move upmarket, which for the moment results in the simple transfer of the first model planned for Lynk & Co under a new badge.
On paper, Zeekr is therefore Geely’s new brand (the 13th) to come compete at the top of the electric range with start-ups (Nio, Xpeng) or the latest brands of large groups (Arcfox, IM). And of course Tesla. The entity that is owned by Geely Holding is not directly attached to Geely Auto or Volvo, and no doubt also intends to take advantage of the financial mane formed by the bubble surrounding this entire universe of electric vehicles. Logically, when we create a brand with these ambitions, we put the small dishes in the big ones. Here the result is partly doubtful.
What identity for Zeekr
Certainly, Zeekr inherits the ultra-modern modular platform from Geely / Volvo, the famous SEA supposed to be suitable for any size of electric vehicle. And obviously all the related rights. A beautiful endowment for the bride then. But it all seems to have been prepared with some urgency. Evidenced by the first model, and this is where the shoe pinches. Not by the intrinsic quality of the product, but its identity.
Because this Zeekr 001 is none other than the production version of the Lynk & co Zero concept presented last year at the Beijing show. And which was to become the Lynk & Co 07 or 08, the young brand’s first electric model. The latter therefore finds itself deprived of this weapon which could strengthen its success on the Chinese market, further boost its image, and push it upmarket. As a bonus, its stylistic identity is diluted, since it is no longer exclusive to it. And for the new Zeekr brand, what is its stylistic identity? Because here we feel that the only parts to have been modified are the logos. Even the naming system by simply incremental numbering in order of exit is identical between the various brands of the group. We are promised one model per year for the next 5 years. What will be the first Zeekr designed from the ground up as such? 003, 004?
The choice is all the more astonishing as Geely made the same mistake a little while ago when starting Polestar. A brand with a positioning that has yet to be found somewhere between Volvo and Lynk & Co, and whose stylistic identity of the first models is completely non-existent. The Polestar 1 and 2 were indeed born to be Volvos… and it shows (to compensate Volvo had to add the C40 to its program).
By the way, Geely tells us a little more about the name. In Chinese, the brand is called 极 氪. The 极 (Ji) means extreme, while 氪 (Kè) is the element Krypton. Phonetically, the anglicized version Zeekr is quite close, with ZE for Zero Emission, a second E for the “i” sound and, at choice, Electric, Evolution… And the Krypton symbol Kr to finish… Either.
La Zeekr 01
The Zeekr 001 therefore comes from the Lynk & Co Zero concept. It is a sort of big 5-door sedan with a rear hatch hesitating between the inclination of a classic sedan and the verticality of a station wagon. Big, because it measures 4m95 long and based on a wheelbase of 3 meters (2999 mm officially). All the exterior details clearly make this a Lynk & Co model. On board, the board breaks down into several superimposed layers with a very horizontal and wide reading of the whole. The large 15.4-inch central display houses almost all the controls. There are very few separate buttons left: a touch strip under the screen, the “box” command on the console and steering wheel controls. Large screen yes, but another 8.8-inch pan and curve faces the driver, complemented by a head-up display.
Technology side, the 001 receives air suspension. No details yet on driving aids, but it should logically inherit components shared within the group, and therefore at Volvo. For the electrical part, here too no official communication yet. The concept claimed 700 km of autonomy in the NEDC cycle (about 600 km WLTP), and a 0 to 100 km / h in less than 4 seconds.