Geely Unveils High-end Smart Car Brand, ZEEKR: A Step Forward in Vehicle Robotics?

Making inroads into the high-end intelligent automotive industry, Geely’s another significant move is here.

On August 14th, Geely formally launched its brand new high-end intelligent automobile robot brand — Zeekr.

According to official information, Zeekr is positioned by Geely as an ‘automobile robot brand’, a fruitful achievement from the ‘autonomous robot strategic cooperation project’ established in 2021 by Geely in collaboration with Baidu.

Even though Zeekr is a brand new brand, its emergence could also be regarded as the strategic step in the planned ‘automobile robot strategic cooperation project’, within the development wave of vehicle intelligence. This step can also be seen as another substantial stride by Geely towards mass production of high-end intelligent automobiles.

Why did Geely launch the Zeekr brand?

With AI, large-scale models, supercomputing…etc., technological breakthroughs that challenge traditional automobile concepts are flourishing, and the advancements are swift and changing rapidly. In such a fast-paced era, automakers face greater challenges with branding transformation or remodeling and technical innovation and deepening.

For Geely, disruptive changes based on intelligent technology are indeed happening. However, there is a lot of room for Geely to grow in terms of energy release in the smart field.

In addition, although the Geely Group is huge, its major brands all have clear positioning and tasks. Therefore, in the field of intelligence, especially advanced intelligence, Geely needs a brand new starting and supporting point to achieve further breakthroughs.

Zeekr shoulders this mission.

According to official information, Zeekr’s name implies the ‘extreme performance’ and ‘graded intelligent technology’ of intelligent cars, aiming to ‘create a benchmark-level high-end intelligent technology travel experience for customers’.

Of course, Geely is more than capable of delivering ‘extreme performance’. However, the tasks of ‘graded intelligent technology’ and a ‘benchmark-level technology travel experience’ are better left to professionals. Geely has chosen to entrust this to Baidu.

In fact, this job has long been part of Baidu’s responsibilities.

As previously mentioned, in 2021, Geely and Baidu initiated the ‘automobile robot strategic cooperation project’, aiming to center around the concept of car robots, with technology empowering by Baidu to create an entirely new automobile product.

It’s learned that this strategy is divided into different stages for steady advancement.

Firstly, an AI technology company — VIDAR, was established. Meanwhile, Baidu had fully opened its intelligent driving, intelligent cockpit, AI, and other intelligent technology accumulated over the years to VIDAR. VIDAR, standing on the shoulders of Baidu, focuses on the deep integration of smart technology and cars to achieve tech engineering landing.

After the integration of intelligent technology and cars was completed, the cooperation arrived to the next phase of this strategy — mass production and delivery of models. At this stage, it was time for Geely to launch Zeekr.

According to official data, Geely’s first model has been named ZEEKR 01. The ZEEKR 01, built on the vast Geely SEA architecture, incorporates technologies such as Baidu Apollo’s automated driving and Wenxin Yian, inheriting the concepts, products, and services accumulated by the “Automotive Robotics Strategic Partnership Program”, while maintaining the previously defined product quality, safety standards, and service experience.

For instance, the ZEEKR 01 is equipped with the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8285 cockpit platform, whose computing power reaches 30 TOPS, taking the product strength of intelligent cockpits to new heights. It can realize a full scenario, fully integrated 3D intelligent driving map, as well as fully-offline voice abilities, and more.

As for intelligent driving, ZEEKR 01 comes with hardware configuration including 2 NVIDIA Orin-X chips and 2 lidar units, plus the addition of Baidu Apollo’s autonomous driving capabilities, increases the imaginative space for this car on the intelligent driving level.

Clearly, starting with ZEEKR, the strong alliance between Geely and Baidu continues to deepen, with Geely also using ZEEKR to further refine its layout in high-end intelligent vehicles.

Rejecting Homogenization, How Can ZEEKR Break the Game?

For ZEEKR, breaking the game in today’s NEV market is indeed a herculean task. But ZEEKR has the confidence to withstand the challenge. Its biggest confidence is undoubtedly the abundant resources of both Geely and Baidu.

Firstly, from Geely’s perspective, Geely can bring highly powerful system advantages for ZEEKR, among which the most noteworthy is the SEA vast architecture.

Currently, Geely’s SEA vast architecture mainly builds high-end models in the wider Geely system, such as LOTUS ELETRE, ZEEKR 001, ZEEKR X, ZEEKR 009, and smart #1. It will also develop sports and high-performance vehicles for LOTUS and Polestar brands.

Just like these, ZEEKR 01 is also built based on SEA vast architecture. This means, on the one hand, ZEEKR 01 possesses high-end production technology and process levels; on the other hand, other products under SEA vast architecture have already diluted the cost for ZEEKR 01, making its pricing more resilient against the changeable market, increasingly competitive.

Secondly, from Baidu’s perspective, Baidu has been deeply tilling in the field of autonomous driving for a decade, achieving coverage of various scenarios such as cities and highways. With AI at the core, it has explored and practiced intelligent vehicle cockpits, seeking new car interaction modes – with Baidu’s contribution, the intelligent performance of ZEEKR 01 should not be underestimated.Moreover, it’s worth mentioning that Geely and Baidu have created a grand model in the automotive industry —— Geely – Baidu‧Wenxin. This grand model employs Baidu Wenxin ERNIE 3.0 model, and utilizes 23 million domain-unlabelled data from Geely for pre-training, ultimately enabling the model to exhibit greater performance and stability.

Evidently, the substantial backing of Zeekr seems to be the confidence behind piercing through the new-energy vehicle market. However, for consumers’, the tangible aspect is the product strength conveyed by Zeekr itself.

Zeekr positions itself as a ‘Robot Auto brand’, a concept alien to most consumers due to the lack of user-education related to ‘Robot Cars’ in the current market. Despite its distinct image, Zeekr requires a certain level of consumer cognitive effort.

Concerning robot cars, Robin Li mentioned at the 2021 Baidu AI Developer Conference that future robots would resemble a car, capable of ‘moving freely’, ‘communicating naturally’, and ‘self-growth’. To realise such an objective, there is a reliance on powerful hardware and AI capabilities. The former for environmental perception, and the latter for information processing and system self-iteration.

This aligns with the historical trend of the automotive industry embracing AI technology. After all, with the enablement of AI, the vehicle’s intelligence on some level truly transforms into a ‘robotic’ entity; a notion once voiced by Musk when he claimed Tesla to be a robot on wheels.

For Zeekr, Geely’s vision of positioning Zeekr as a Robot Auto brand aligns with current market development ——Nevertheless, whilst Zeekr has been explicitly marked as Robot Auto, it faces advanced challenges in perception hardware, software algorithm, emotional interaction etc., compared to its competitors.

With Geely and Baidu’s support, Zeekr is progressing towards the vision of a Robot Auto. However, whether the Robot Auto defined by Zeekr aligns with consumers’ image of Robot Auto will most likely be answered once Zeekr 01 commences mass-production.

And, how to allow users to perceive the product beyond the conceptual dimension will be Zeekr’s continuous pursuit.

In Conclusion

In the current fiercely competitive auto market, every brand is striving for technical and conceptual innovation, seeking variance within homogeneity —— Against the backdrop of the AI era, Zeekr is also attempting to define a pioneering, distinctive intelligent vehicle through new technology and concepts.

This implies that for Zeekr to break through, it needs to maintain the forefront in intelligence technology, and expedite its implementation, effectively conveying technology’s power to the business model.Despite the backing of Geely and Baidu, ZEEKR must not underestimate its efforts.

After all, ZEEKR is a crucial element in Geely’s layout of high-end intelligence. It strives not only to achieve its brand ideal, but also to ensure the commercial success of ZEEKR and Geely in the field of intelligence for future development.

Therefore, in the face of the ongoing market shake-up and the fierce price competition, ZEEKR joins the battle. This move will undoubtedly set a competitive price for ZEEKR 01 as its brand makes its first appearance.

What do you think the starting price of ZEEKR 01 would be? Feel free to discuss in the comment section.

This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email