Five-meter shooting brake, air suspension, audio system from Yamaha and a system of cameras constantly monitoring the events around the car. So exactly when testing this exotic ship, clutching the heated steering wheel in my hands, I remembered the beginnings of modern electromobility in the Czech Republic, when it was a winter miracle to drive from Hradec to Prague on one charge in at least some comfort with the very first Leaf or e-NV200 (24 kWh battery) .

Photo: Tomáš Burian

The archival photo from the test of the first Leaf reminded me of the pioneering cars of modern electromobility in the Czech Republic.

It’s been 10 years (hell, it flies) and battery powered cars have moved on at such a pace that it’s hard to rationally understand. Now, at the beginning of 2024, we have electric cars with which you can cover the Hradec Králové – Prague route four times on a single charge in the winter, and even five times in the summer. And we are talking about full comfort without temperature or other appliance restrictions.

One such prime example of rapid progress is the Chinese model Zeekr 001, whose Chinese DNA you wouldn’t guess even beyond the golden steering wheel. This attractive electric car was strongly inspired by Tesla (by the way, which China isn’t…), but the result is more than solid. And no, this car doesn’t cost three million or even two at full blast.

The design of the 001 car from the very young brand Zeekr (launched in 2021) is adapted to current automotive trends, where split lamps rule. Just look at the hood, where daytime running lights and blinkers have their place, while adaptive LED diode lamps with Matrix technology have taken up residence in the bumper.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

At the top there are daytime running lights and blinkers. On the bottom right, the reticle, on the left (unlit) adaptive distances.

The side lines of the elegant shooting brake are not completely smooth, you will find aerodynamic moldings that direct the air flow, especially in the lower part. The sides are also decorated with retractable handles, which you do not have to reach for at all. Just press them lightly and the door will open by itself. And no, they don’t really crash into the next car.

You might be thinking, what kind of useless crap is this, only suitable for expensive Tesla X, BMW 7 or Mercedes S, but you get used to it quickly. Not perhaps because of dating in front of prying eyes, but for the comfort.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The attractive appearance of the car is also reflected in the rear.

Even from behind you won’t lose the impression full of luxury, the combined rear lamps can welcome you with a pleasant play of light, which is complemented by the Zeekr inscription on the back. There is no rear wiper, but the electrically operated fifth door with a robust split plate covers the trunk with a double bottom with a total volume of 539 liters.

Sure, it can be seen here that due to aerodynamics and batteries, the luggage compartment was cheated against, for example, the Superb in the station wagon, but do you really need to haul furniture from the IKEA chain in your car every day? Especially if you still have a modest storage space in the front for the charging cable and mandatory equipment.

And while we’re talking about lights, the Zeekr 001 can start a Tesla-style light show, but it’s not as drenched as the North American manufacturer’s. But judge for yourself, we made a video for you.

Zeekr 001 light show and integrated Angry Birds game.Video: Jan Majurník

For good Night

After you open the door, sit inside and slam on the brake to close the door again, you’ll discover a luxurious interior dominated by a panoramic sunroof with adjustable transparency and a giant central touchscreen. Here again we recognize an unnamed North American brand and believe we are not alone.

The screen is really the main brain of the car, where, following the example of Tesla, you have relatively clear control of functions that you just turn on and off. It is a fast information system that does not go to sleep, so it is practically always on.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

Large central touchscreen with control of most functions? Where did we just see it…

The air conditioning control menu is again familiar with Tesla, as well as the possibility of opening and closing doors or folding mirrors realized through a live model of the car on the main screen. Why alive? The car visually faithfully demonstrates the car’s behavior in the sense of turning on the blinkers or lights or opening the doors.

There are also preset functions that you can use on the go or while charging. Navigation can be used either native or built-in Waze. In terms of games outside the info system, you can find Angry Birds, for example, or you can surf the Internet using the built-in browser or listen to music through a music application. In short, I don’t want to repeat myself, but you know who originally introduced this into mass production/popularity…

Photo: Jiří Cermák

Zeekr also comes pre-installed with fun and practical apps.

Overall, I was able to work well with the large screen, and I was happy to use the quick switching of driving modes, as it often snowed heavily during the test days.

I have to pay even more respect than the infotainment system to the anatomical leather seats with heating, ventilation, massage and memory. These long-distance assistants provide high comfort like in a better Mercedes, a decent range of settings and overall positive support for the driver when traveling.

However, traveling also includes fatigue, which personally hit me quite hard one day in Moravská Třebová around one in the morning on the way from Kopřivnice, so I put the car in the station for slow charging and finally tried the long-observed function – changing the driver’s seat to the resting position.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The seating is comfortable, heated, ventilated, ergonomic. Comparable to Mercedes.

After activating the function, the seat comfortably reclined and generally rose, which, in conjunction with the heating set to 22 degrees and the silent operation of the fan, heralded the way to a quick fall asleep. I also checked that the car was locked, put the factory supplied pillow under his head and covered his eyes with a cap. It didn’t take long and my almost three-hour motorist sleep on the heated “bed” successfully began. I really had no idea that it would be possible to relax like this in Zeekr.

An experience worthy of a BMW 7er

It’s time to look at the hardware of the Zeekru 001, when the tested specification offers two electric motors with a total output of 400 kW (544 hp), each driving its own axle. The torque of 686 Nm traveling to all four wheels, together with the Linglong Green-Max winter footwear, thus provided quite an interesting driving experience worthy of a Bavarian seven.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The top spec Zeekru 001 has air suspension.

The main feature of the car is the air suspension already mentioned at the beginning, the lightness of which is automatically adjusted according to the speed or the selected driving profile, which, among other things, affects the behavior of the car, especially the reaction to the gas pedal. Tuned steering and advanced safety systems go hand in hand with this.

I tested them at the Hradec Polygon, where any concerns about the (un)safety of the car absolutely vanished. The work speed of ABS and electronic stabilization assistance is at the level of adult vehicles, while it is clear that the Zeekra chassis makers really tuned the car.

I’m not afraid to say that in terms of ABS/ESP work, this China is doing similarly, if not better, than our Skoda. And there, the chassis manufacturers with cars win to the sky many times, as evidenced by, for example, the first diesel Kodiaq RS.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The car’s stabilization systems are at a high level.

In addition, the manufacturer has cleverly used a system of cameras monitoring the traffic around the vehicle and the driving lane. In other words, as soon as I hit the brakes harder, the emergency recording of the events in the area immediately started. All this for the record of a possible accident/crisis.

But what if you don’t need to brake, but rather accelerate properly? From zero to a hundred, this 2.35-ton shooting brake with an aerodynamic coefficient of Cx 0.23 accelerates in 3.8 seconds and continues up to a maximum of 200 km/h.

Another and relatively significant trump card of this car is its giant battery (lithium-manganese, cobalt, nickel technology) with a gross capacity of 100 kWh (usable 95 kWh)! For that reason, according to the homologation, this highest equipment should travel up to 580 km on a single charge, while lower specifications can go even further.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

Average consumption on winter tires has stabilized at 23 kWh per 100 km.

In the end, I managed to achieve an average consumption of 23 kWh per hundred in the winter season on 255/45 R21 winter tires with approximately 50% of highways. Although rather at a defensive pace, but in full comfort, with the heating usually set to 22-23 degrees, active heating of the seat, steering wheel and massage.

Realistically, the car can manage 400 km on a single charge in winter, while as soon as summer hits and the winterizers go to the basement, you can reduce the consumption to 20 kWh just fine. This would then mean a maximum range of less than 500 km on a single charge of electricity.

The European specification Zeekru 001 also offers pleasantly fast charging (400-volt architecture) at a rate of 200 kW direct current (DC) and a 22 kW on-board charger. However, I drove an almost identical variant intended for another market, which you may have recognized from the photos, so I charged more slowly and exclusively with alternating current AC via a reduction.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

There is an AC connector in the front, a fast charger in the back.

By the way, the car also has the ability to function as an energy storage (V2L), so you can also power your house via the AC port through the corresponding wallbox.

Given the parameters, equipment, battery capacity and overall design of the Zeekr 001, such electromobility makes real sense, as various compromises between range and comfort are suppressed here. As I could realistically imagine my motoring life with a rejuvenated Tesla Model 3, the “ziky 001” and thus the basic KIA EV9 are the same in pale blue. And you still don’t know how much Zeekr is worth.

The Chinese invasion has begun

We’re nearing the article finale, so it’s time to wrap it up. Before some of you get bashed in the comments for promoting China and how much money I got for it from the import/car company, I would like to remind you that the car was privately lent to me by the co-owner of Svoboda Karavanů (svobodacaravans.cz), which sells off-road camper trailers. And as for the fee, I’m in it for about minus 3,000 CZK for paid charging.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The electrically operated trunk has a volume of 539 liters.

The Zeekr 001 is a total revelation these days, albeit heavily inspired by the pioneering Tesla. Due to the comfort, performance worthy of luxury limousines, smart software functions, large traction battery, super-fast charging and relatively decent consumption, such a car does not have many direct competitors. Unless the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo, Nio ET5 Shooting Brake or Volkswagen ID.7, but…

In addition to the fact that Zeekr 001 is solidly successful and realistically shows where the young brand founded in 2021 can take it thanks to the support of the parent concern Geely (owner of Volvo, Lotus, Lynk & Co, Smart and almost 10% shareholder of Mercedes and others), it is here an important aspect called price.

Due to the ratio of performance and equipment, Zeekr can pocket almost everyone, and not only in its segment. Above all, European brands should start taking the situation seriously and perhaps reconsider their pricing policy for expensive electric cars. Chinese competition is not knocking on the door, Chinese competition has already entered, it is here and it is really strong.

The basic Zeekr 001 rear-wheel drive with a power of 200 kW and a range of up to 620 km costs in the Netherlands (and similarly in Sweden) including delivery 60,490 euros with tax (19%), which is about 1,471,596 CZK. A four-wheeler with a power of 400 kW on 21-inch wheels with a range of up to 590 km will cost 63,490 euros including VAT, i.e. about 1,544,580 CZK. And the top version of the 400 kW four-wheeler on 22-inch wheels and air suspension with a range of 580 km on a single charge is then a matter of 68,490 euros (1,666,220 CZK) including tax. In addition, the cars can also be registered in the Czech Republic, and even Tesla, let alone the others, can’t afford this money. This is no longer a price war, this is a Chinese invasion of Europe.

Specifications Zeekr 001 AWD (EU spec.)
Motor 2x electric motor
Performance 400 kW (544 hp)
Torque 686 Nm
Transmission one ratio epicyclic
Tree all four wheels
Standby weight 2 350 kg
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 3,8 s
Maximal speed 200 km/h
Arrival up to 580 km
Battery capacity 100 kWh (use 95 kWh)
Charging AC 22 kW, DC 200 kW
Tires and tires 265/40 R22
Wheels and tires (test. winter. spec.) 255/45 R21
Dimensions (length/width/height) 4 955/1 999/1 548 mm
Wheelbase 2 999 mm
Volume of the luggage compartment 539 l
Minimum ground clearance 162 mm
Towing capacity (braked trailer) 2 000 kg