Following the launch of its first production model – the 001 – last year and the start of production of the 009 minivan last month, Chinese premium EV brand Zeekr will continue its expansion with two new models and an entry to the European market this year.
The Geely-owned automaker announced ambitious goals for 2023 in an internal letter from CEO An Conghui to the employees seen by CarNewsChina. Those include the target to double sales and deliver 140,000 vehicles, launch two new models, and enter Europe, among other objectives.
According to previously released information, the two new EVs will be the Zeekr 003 compact SUV (codenamed BXE1) and a sedan codenamed CS1E, with the former tipped to spearhead the brand’s European expansion later this year.
Actually, the Zeekr 003 was officially teased by parent company Geely Group a couple of days ago on Twitter. The photos showed a prototype wearing an art car-like camouflage while testing in Sweden. Zeekr also showed dark teaser photos of the car it describes as a “premium urban SUV” with excellent drivability.
The vehicle looks decidedly modern and features some Lynk & Co design cues such as the LED DRLs mounted on the front end. Highlights include the split headlights, plunged hood, wide air intake in the front bumper, pop-out door handles, and unusual shape of the C pillar.
Seen from the rear, the Zeekr 003 shows an extended roof spoiler, a very narrow rear window featuring one of the smallest windshield wipers we’ve ever seen on a production car, and slim taillights united by a horizontal light strip that stops in the middle as it meets the Zeekr lettering.
We do know the Zeekr 003 will use the same Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) EV platform as the Zeekr 001 and 009 – plus other EVs from the Geely, Lynk & Co, Smart and Lotus brands – but no powertrain specs are available. However, Zeekr notes that the 003 is capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) within 4 seconds.
We also get an indication of the vehicle’s size as one of the photos shows the Zeekr 003 parked behind an Audi e-tron GT. The compact SUV significantly shorter overall than the Audi, and the wheelbase is also shorter; the Zeekr noticeably higher, though.
CarNewsChina estimates the Zeekr 003 is just under 4.4 meters (173.2 inches) long, with a wheelbase of around 2.75 meters (108.2 inches). The crossover is clearly higher than the Audi.
According to reports from China, the Zeekr 003 is likely to launch in the first half of this year, with a possible debut at the Shanghai Auto Show in April. Later on, the model will also become available in Europe.