Zeekr, the self-described global premium electric mobility technology brand from Geely Holding Group, announced an array of upgrades to its 001 vehicle, at its first Experience Day in Hangzhou, China. It signals a bold and swift product development roadmap less than one year after its first product was delivered to customers in China in October 2021.
The 001 crossover model will get an extensive OTA (over-the-air) software update that covers driver comfort, cockpit interface, and smart driving technologies. The latest upgrade also includes a high-performance Qualcomm 8155 Snapdragon microchip which has optimized over 200 key items of user control functions within the cockpit. The brand also announced a host of hardware improvements to the 001 body and chassis for the 2022 model year.
Zeekr says that the 001 is now the world’s first production car equipped with two 7-nm autonomous driving chips. They are embedded within a visual fusion sensing system, enabling the crossover to adapt autonomously to driving conditions at speeds of up to 130 km/h (81 mph).
In testing, a 001 automatically slowed when it detected pedestrians or non-motor vehicles approaching. It can also automatically detect a car door opening or a truck approaching on the side, turning wheels slightly to avoid a possible collision.
The crossover’s new intelligent driving system enables users to switch among different driving modes, and it has a distributed traction control system designed only for pure electric vehicles. The system includes signal transmission and a processing rate 10 times faster than most existing systems, claims the company.
It improves acceleration performance by 31% on harsh road surfaces, or in snow and ice conditions, while increasing the maximum controllable speed. This newly updated driving system will give user the option to switch between rear-, all-, or real-time adaptive four-wheel-drive systems based on the road conditions.
Zeekr was founded in early 2021 as Geely’s global technology-mobility brand, with design and engineering capabilities in Sweden. The brand aims to create a fully integrated user ecosystem using Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) and including its own battery technologies, battery management systems, electric motor technologies, and electric vehicle supply chain. It has an ambitious roll-out plan over the next five years to satisfy the rapidly expanding global EV industry.
In August 2021, Zeekr completed the Pre-A round of external funding from five partners with Intel Capital as the lead investor. The $500 million funding also attracted investments from CATL, Bilibili, Cathay Fortune Group, and Boyu Capital. The brand says it had already delivered its 20,000th vehicle in May 2022, 217 days from its first delivery in October 2021, which made it the fastest-selling EV company in China to achieve such a target.
Earlier this year at CES 2022, Zeekr confirmed a collaboration with Intel’s Mobileye to expand a long-term strategic technology partnership that includes ADASs (advanced driver assistance systems) with a goal to deliver the world’s first autonomous consumer vehicles with SAE L4 capabilities by 2024. The vehicle will use the SEA architecture’s redundant braking, steering, and power.
“Our partnership supports Zeekr and Mobileye’s shared ambitions for leading the global ADAS and AV industry,” said Andy An, CEO Zeekr Intelligent Technology.
“The broadening scope of our partnership reflects just how closely Mobileye and ZEEKR are aligned on the vision for future mobility,” added Prof. Ammon Shashua, President and CEO Mobileye.
Under the Mobileye Open EyeQ concept, six EyeQ5 system-on-chips (SoCs) will power an integration of Zeekr’s proprietary software technologies together with True Redundancy sensing, RSS (Responsibility Sensitive Safety) driving policy, and a new open collaboration model on REM (Road Experience Management) mapping technology.
In December 2021, the Geely brand announced a collaboration with Waymo on the development of a new pure electric vehicle for deployment in the Waymo One autonomous ride-hailing fleet in the U.S. A new purpose-built commercial mobility vehicle is being designed and developed at the new brand’s R&D facility in Gothenburg, Sweden.
After its initial roll-out in China, the brand is planning a European market launch in 2023, where it will ramp up capacity for the 001 at the Zeekr Intelligent Factory, which it says is one of the world’s most advanced vehicle facilities.