ZEEKR Evolution Day: A Showcase of Emerging Technology and Record Deliveries

On September 1st, it was a day that could be considered as a crown day for ZEEKR.

On this day, ZEEKR announced their delivery volume for August, reaching an all-time high of 12,303 units. Same day, on ZEEKR’s Evolution Day, ZEEKR presented their technological culmination of recent years, bursting with pioneering tech, rewriting external recognition of ZEEKR.

During the entire ZEEKR Evolution Day, I watched from beginning to end. A sequence of explosive data and one hardcore technology after another kept my excitement at peak.

When Evolution Day ended and I cooled down, I couldn’t help but constantly reminisce. I realized that this was not just a passionate ZEEKR Evolution Day, but more like a flag ZEEKR raised for its quest to form a strong comprehensive competitiveness in the industry.

First Explore Top-tier Drive Control, Then Nourish Mass Production Models

Excellent driving performance has always been ZEEKR’s strength, and it is universally praised by users.

For ZEEKR 001, even in the current product iteration cycle that has nearly reached two years, the two-year-old ZEEKR 001 still has superior driving control compared to new products today.

At the Evolution Day, ZEEKR 001 high-performance version – 001 FR was officially released, pushing ZEEKR’s advantage of driving control even further ahead in the industry. The 001 FR has brought more possibilities to driving control itself. As Jinwen Lin, Vice President of ZEEKR Intelligent Technology said:

With the philosophy of EVERUS, every time ZEEKR enters a submarket, it brings about a new change.

Interestingly, during the 001 FR release, ZEEKR did not deliberately create suspense to whet people’s appetite, but straightforwardly showed up at the beginning of Evolution Day, which is just like the character of 001 FR – direct and powerful.

At the start of Evolution Day, Conghui An, CEO of ZEEKR Intelligent Technology, went straight to the point and introduced the core technologies loaded on 001 FR:

  • The first production release of a four-motor distributed electric drive;
  • The first introduction in the industry for ZVC four-wheel torque vector control;
  • First time in the world for a car to be mass-produced with satellite communication technology.

The four-motor distributed electric drive of 001 FR adopts the SiC permanent magnet synchronous motor, which can realize a peak wheel-end torque of more than 10,000 N・m. Also, the maximum horsepower reaches 1,265 hp, distancing it from Tesla’s Model S Plaid’s 1,020 hp.Driven by confidence in power, at Evolution Day, the 001 FR completed a 0-100km acceleration test which ultimately resulted in a time of 2.36 seconds. However, if we deduct the first foot’s starting time, the acceleration of the 001 FR from 0-100km would only be 2.07 seconds, pushing it into a ‘performance monster’ category.

In addition, thanks to the four-motor distributed electric drive, the 001 FR can perform a tank-like turn on any road surface with the option for custom rotation angles. Simply by making the selection inside the vehicle, it can perform the automatic rotation keeping the offset of the center within 20 cm.

While the tank-like turn may be entertaining, it can cause considerable wear to the automobile—particularly the tires. In response to this, Ye Jinyu, the director of ZEEKR’s smart technology vehicle R&D, assures that the system limit of the 001 FR is more than adequate, and even after 450-500 tank-like turns, the 001 FR can still operate normally.

Following this is the ZVC four-wheel torque vectoring control. This technology can precisely distribute and independently control the torque output of each wheel during driving, through an intelligent algorithm.

Using the ZVC four-wheel torque vectoring control as its foundation, the maximum lateral G value when the 001 FR is cornering stands at 1.4 G—equivalent to the performance of a top supercar. With this technology, the 001 FR even demonstrated at the Evolution Day event its ability to perform serpentine slalom handling without steering.

Post ensuring driving pleasure, the 001 FR also explored further into safety.

The satellite communication technology of the 001 FR allows it to send and receive messages, establish satellite calls, even in remote areas when ground networks are unavailable or damaged, enabling users to maintain contact with the outside world. After all, safety is an essential part of the ZEEKR brand.

In addition to the three key technologies mentioned, the 001 FR factory also includes top Brembo ceramic brakes, KW coilover shocks, and other highly customized and scarce components. It has also newly designed and developed a high-performance carbon fiber aerodynamic kit and a new intelligent driving mode.

Because of the high customization of the 001 FR performance kit and the scarcity of multiple components, the ZEEKR 001 FR can’t be mass-produced, and only 99 units can be delivered per month. According to official information, once the 001 FR opened pre-orders, all 99 units were sold out in just 15 seconds.In addition, the 001 FR not only excels in driving control, but also holds leading advantages elsewhere.

In terms of intelligence, the 001 FR is equipped with the 8295 smart cockpit platform. Based on public information, the computing power of the 8295 chipset has reached 30 Tops. With such a foundation of computing power, the intelligent cockpit experience of the 001 FR may represent a superior dimension of performance.

In terms of electric power, the 001 FR features a full-stack 800V high-voltage system and comes with a 100 kWh 4C Kirin battery, which equals to a mere 15-minute charging time from 10% to 80%.

Indeed, in the current new energy vehicle market, the 001 FR is the undisputed “King of the Pack”.

Of note is that the exploration of top-notch technology by the 001 FR will also contribute to the other high-volume models of ZEEKR, as Lin Jinwen stated:

The ZEEKR 001 FR is a masterpiece of ZEEKR in the field of new energy core technology, and some of its technology will also be deployed to other models in the future.

Ascension to the First Tier of Intelligent Companies

An aspiration of ZEEKR is to ascend to the first tier of intelligent companies, and ZEEKR has never neglected the pace of self-improvement and evolution to achieve this.

Looking at this evolution day, it’s undeniable that the level of intelligence of ZEEKR has improved significantly.

High-Speed NZP Now Active, Accelerating Intelligent Drive Evolution

Compared to the first-tier companies, ZEEKR’s intelligent driving has been slow to arrive, but this doesn’t prevent the high-speed NZP from performing exceptionally well.

ZEEKR’s intelligent driving plan uses Mobileye’s Supervision system, and ZEEKR has enhanced this system to better cater to Chinese driving scenarios.

On July 1, ZEEKR’s high-speed NZP officially opened for public testing. According to ZEEKR’s data, in the two months since it started, the high-speed NZP has travelled more than 1.58 million kilometers in testing, with a total testing time of over 47,000 hours, and over 95% of the testers indicated they would use the high-speed NZP in the future.

During the evolution day, ZEEKR also showcased some of the high-speed NZP’s performances during users’ tests. When encountering obstacles, blind spots and other situations, the high-speed NZP could rapidly respond and change lanes in a timely manner, thereby reducing driving risks.

In addition, a great deal of testing was conducted on the high-speed NZP in the garage. After testing, we found that its overall characteristic can be summarized in four words —— efficiency first.ZEEKR High-speed NZP can perform lane-changing and overtaking with considerable flexibility while ensuring sufficient safety and certainty for the driver. It can even make the trailing vehicle slow down by riding on the line during the lane-change process, then accelerate to change lanes, striving to improve traffic efficiency as much as possible.

Furthermore, the garage has also tested ZEEKR High-speed NZP in heavy rain. During the test, ZEEKR High-speed NZP achieved zero handover, zero downgrade, and zero manual intervention in a high-speed driving process of 54 minutes and 81 km.

Such an achievement is closely related to the rapid self-iteration by ZEEKR in intelligent driving. Chen Qi, Vice President of ZEEKR Intelligent Technology, told us that engineers will push the first version of the software they have polished to their own cars, then feedback the issues for continuous evolution of NZP.

Currently, ZEEKR High-speed NZP has been officially pushed to users in Shanghai and Hangzhou, and will be launched in 17 cities and public beta tested in 20 cities within this year. It is worth looking forward to how ZEEKR High-speed NZP will perform in the end.

Major upgrades to the car machine, but more performance potential to unleash

The intelligence of the car machine has always been a shortcoming of ZEEKR, even affecting its reputation. However, to make up for this shortcoming, ZEEKR takes careful steps, showing its sincerity and determination at every step.

On last year’s Evolution Day, ZEEKR announced that it would upgrade the 8155 chip for all users for free, reshaping its reputation in intelligence.

At this year’s Evolution Day, ZEEKR formally announced the official rollout of Zeek OS 5.0, taking ZEEKR’s intelligent experience to a new level.

Zeek OS 5.0 adopts a brand new HMI 3.0 and reconstructs the layout of the system. Over 560 ICONs adopt a new unified design, and EVA has been fully upgraded in terms of image and voice capabilities. The top 10 user suggestions have also been implemented in Zeek OS 5.0.

Based on Zeek OS 5.0, ZEEKR can now realize dual desktop switching, while the car control sidebar and interaction card column have also been optimized, enhancing user operation convenience.

In addition, Zeek OS 5.0 also supports screen casting from mobile phones, Switch, computers, etc., and new features such as in-vehicle KTV and in-vehicle camera.
In general, Zeek OS 5.0 is the most significant OTA upgrade for ZEEKR in two years, covering 55 ECUs, adding 51 new features, and optimizing 48 user experiences. In ZEEKR’s words, this OTA upgrade is “not afraid to compete directly with the strongest competitors”.

Significantly, in an interview after Evolution Day, Jiang Jun, vice president of ZEEKR intelligent technology, also touched on the issue of whether ZEEKR’s existing products will switch to 8295.

He pointed out that 8285 is a higher-level domain controller hardware, replacing 8155 with 8295 means that all hardware including the screen must be upgraded, and 8155 is still mainstream. ZEEKR will continue to unleash the performance potential of 8155.

This implies that after Zeek OS 5.0, there is still a lot of potential for the intelligently-enhanced experience of ZEEKR’s current car machine products.

Accelerating Layout for Supercharging Network

Apart from striving to join the first tier in intelligent development, ZEEKR is also working on creating its own core advantages in the construction of its energy replenishment system.

On Evolution Day, ZEEKR launched its ultra-fast charging pile, ZEEKR Charge V3, which is currently the highest single-gun output power charging pile —— up to 800 kW in power, with a maximum output voltage of 1,000 V and a maximum output current of 800 A. Reportedly, ZEEKR Charge V3 will officially start mass production by the end of this year and will begin to be deployed throughout ZEEKR Stations nationwide starting from Q1 of next year.

In fact, ZEEKR has always been prioritizing the construction of super-fast charging network. According to ZEEKR’s official data, as of August 31, the number of ZEEKR Stations has reached 348, ranked first in the industry, covering 90 cities.

At the same time, the construction of ZEEKR Stations is accelerating. According to ZEEKR’s plan, the number of Stations will increase to 450 by the end of this year, and by next year, ZEEKR will implement the first global super-fast charging thousand station layout under the 800 V system.

Moreover, ZEEKR’s entire charging network is not only built for itself, but also contributes to the construction of the energy replenishment system for the entire industry, as Lin Jinwen said:

ZEEKR itself is open. Only by open and cooperative construction can we provide good user experience.

In Conclusion

In the past two years, each Evolution Day has announced another transformation of ZEEKR. Ye Jinyu stated:

A brand must have aspirations, and we are also ambitious about technology. We strive to perfect our products.

Therefore, at last year’s Evolution Day, ZEEKR unveiled its Lightning Switch intelligent four-wheel drive system, 8155 intelligent cockpit platform, and others.

This year, ZEEKR has brought heavy-duty model 001 FR, launched NZP, Zeek OS 5.0, etc., evolving comprehensively in both software and hardware. This inevitably entices anticipation towards what products or technology ZEEKR will announce at next year’s Evolution Day.Additionally, through this Evolution Day, we can see that even though ZEEKR has had a later start compared to the entire industry, with the support of the broad Geely system, ZEEKR is able to concentrate its efforts efficiently and release them rapidly into the market, reaching the volume and presence that a high-end brand should have.

As the word “evolution” emphasized by ZEEKR, it shows the world its evolution potential should not be underestimated.

However, it should also be noted that the current new energy vehicle market is in a fierce price war with each brand using every trick in the book in order to stand out. The road of evolution for ZEEKR is still long.

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