ZEEKR 007 Officially Hits the Market: A New King is Born?

“The rise of a new king,” was the slogan at the ZEEKR 007 test drive event. Now, the “new king” in ZEEKR’s view has finally made its market debut, priced from 209,900 to 299,900 RMB.

The ZEEKR 007 comes in five versions:

  • Rear-wheel drive 209,900 RMB;
  • All-wheel drive 229,900 RMB;
  • Rear-wheel drive intelligent Drive 229,900 RMB;
  • All-wheel drive intelligent drive 259,900 RMB;
  • All-wheel drive performance 299,900 RMB.

Except for the performance model, all other models are standard equipped with a proprietary 75 kWh LiFePO4 Gold-Brick battery. The rear-wheel-drive model has a CLTC range of 688 km, while the all-wheel-drive model has a CLTC range of 616 km. Of course, if you want even more range, users who order before January 31, 2024, can pay an extra 20,000 RMB to upgrade to a 100 kWh battery. The range of rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive models can be upgraded to 870 km and 770 km, respectively, and free sky blue and dawn brown paint options are available.

On the intelligent driving level, some rights have also been introduced. Cars equipped with single Orin X intelligent drive can enjoy 1 year of free high-speed NZP, while cars with the intelligent drive model get lifetime access for free—a kind of purchase in perpetuity. The ZEEKR 007 will begin deliveries on January 1, 2024. According to the folks at ZEEKR, the number of ZEEKR 007s prepared for immediate delivery is quite substantial, which should keep up with the delivery speed.

The ZEEKR 007 official price is somewhat lower than the pre-sale price, which is unexpected. Given its product strength, this price range is quite competitive within its class, likely to sway some waiting consumers.

Moreover, the SKU of ZEEKR 007 is simple this time, classified into regular and intelligent drive versions, as well as rear-wheel and all-wheel drive. Whether you need all-wheel drive or advanced intelligent driving, you can mix and match to satisfy your needs. Based on the previous ZEEKR 007 test drive experience, I’d recommend the intelligent drive version—considering range performance; I’d further recommend the rear-wheel-drive intelligent version.

However, aside from the all-wheel-drive intelligent version, lighting fixtures are optional, so if you want to choose the lighting feature and pursue more driving pleasure, then I suggest you go right for the all-wheel drive intelligent version.

The proprietary intelligent drive exceeded expectations

From yesterday through tomorrow, these are probably the hottest three days in China’s automotive circle this year. There’s AITO’s flagship SUV, the M9, hitting the market, and tomorrow XiaoMi’s long-anticipated first pure electric sedan, the SU7, will be released. These two are bringing the massive traffic from the tech industry to the car scene. Many brands probably want to avoid this time slot, but only ZEEKR chose to face the challenge directly and still insisted on organizing their release event for their new 007 on the 27th, undeniably showing ZEEKR’s strong confidence in this new car.

This confidence stems from the overall improvement in product performance, not only limited to the full range of 800 V, but also the intelligent cabin and intelligent assisted driving ability which ZEEKR has always been regarded as a shortcoming by everyone. Especially after the test drive experience, I guess the ZEEKR team has been quite hardworking over these two years.

As the first model of ZEEKR’s smart driving system to fully switch to in-house research and development, the 007’s development speed has greatly exceeded everyone’s expectations. Because compared to other car companies’ smart driving R&D cycle, ZEEKR has only spent less than two years since switching from Mobileye to fully in-house R&D. During this period, they need to build a team, start writing code from scratch, and eventually achieve first-line smart driving capabilities, which is quite challenging.

During the experience process, Chen Qi, the Vice President of Smart Driving at ZEEKR, also mentioned that he and his team were under a lot of pressure in the past two years, but luckily they delivered a very perfect answer in the end. This time, the 007 not only achieved immediately usable nationwide high-speed NZP, but also entered the internal testing stage for city commutes. The LCC capability has also caught up with the frontline camp, and it even supports automatic parking in stereoscopic parking slots, which is quite impressive.

The smart driving of the 007 will have two versions. The entry-level uses a single Orin X with a vision plan that supports high-speed NZP. The high-end version is a dual Orin X, along with a lidar from RoboSense, which can realize city NZP and commuting modes. Moreover, at the algorithm level, BEV + Transformer, and the occupied grid network have also boarded, making it have the ability to detect generic obstacles and further graphlessness in the future.

At the performance level of the high-speed NZP, the experience level has been quite good, and it can make separate optimizations for some detailed scenarios, such as when the system recognizes that there is a large truck ahead, it will initiate the lane change earlier, etc. The city commute route also reached the state of “run once and can be used”, using the method of single-vehicle local training, and has connected the ground and high-speed, and there will not be a break point at the experience level. Since commuting mode is already in place, we believe ZEEKR’s city NZP will also come soon.

Yet the most astonishing part about the 007 involves the industry’s first ever mechanical parking space automatic parking function that can be experienced. Unexpectedly, ZEEKR, a model which most people didn’t believe had strong smart driving capabilities and had only two and a half years of independent research and development, was the first I experienced with the ability to automatically park in a mechanical parking space.

Auto parking, currently, is largely focused on memory parking to resolve the last mile experience of driving in cities. However, returning to the origin of the auto parking function, its initial purpose was to assist drivers when parking was more complex. With wider electric cars, the difficulty of parking in mechanical spaces compared to the era of fuel cars is increasing. Many electric car users have been eagerly anticipating this automatic parking ability, which is why ZEEKR has prioritized it.

The ZEEKR 007’s four fish-eye lenses can differentiate between ordinary parking spaces and mechanical parking spaces, and display them on the SR. Once a parking space is selected, the system will straighten the car before parking it, and even automatically fold in the side mirrors to avoid scratches. ZEEKR 007’s mechanical parking ability is highly developed, regardless of wall spaces or narrow spaces between cars, it has the ability to park automatically. However, the ZEEKR 007 version that’s set to debut in January 2024 may not have this function. The ZEEKR team suggested that they have completed about 70% of development and that only minor details are left to be refined.

The cockpit of past ZEEKR models has always come under criticism for its lack of smoothness and stability. For example, the “penalty box” is often mentioned. The UI of the ZEEKR 007 at first glance might appear similar to the current 001 or X, with the design still relying on cards plus an L-shaped DACK bar. However, substantial changes have taken place under the hood. Especially when ZEEKR 007 started to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip, a massive improvement was noticed over the 8155. With this increased computing power, ZEEKR has realized more possibilities in the cockpit.

Starting with display capability, the ZEEKR 007’s cockpit mainly consists of three sections: a 35.5-inch AR-HUD head-up display in front of the eyes, an irregular-shaped full LCD curved instrument cluster in front of the steering wheel, and a 15.05-inch 2.5K OLED sunflower central control screen in the middle. Thanks to the Snapdragon 8295, all three screens can deliver a global rate of 60 frames per second, and even under high load conditions, a minimum rate of 45 frames per second, guaranteeing a fluid display.Also notable is the app’s responsiveness. The 007 car system supports up to 60 background applications for quick startup. Detail enhancements include a dynamically displayed weather interface, and vehicle’s 3D model interface has added weather rendering for fine visual effects.

In addition, 007’s voice has integrated a large-scale AI model, which not only encompasses ZEEKR’s KR GPT but also includes Byte’s large-scale AI model for better results. However, Jiang Jun, Vice President of ZEEKR Intelligent Technology, stated that they believe the final development of large AI models is not merely the role of a voice assistant, but necessary to make good predictions of the driver’s intentions, making in-car interactions much simpler.

One highlight of the ZEEKR 007 cockpit is its ability to capture visual movement. The DMS camera in front of the steering wheel can capture the driver’s head and eye movements, allowing the system to adjust the corresponding side view mirror when the driver wants to adjust the left side mirror, eliminating the need for manual settings.

With this functionality, you can achieve “look to speak”, i.e., when the DMS camera captures the driver’s eyes looking at the central control screen, this function is directly activated. You can directly say the corresponding function on the screen without waking up, and the voice will help you set it directly. This look-to-speak is global and can be realized even in app menus or application interfaces.

A unique experience of the ZEEKR 007 car machine is the previously launched BeiDou satellite communication function on the 001 FR. When you drive to a place with no signal, you can send a distress message or notify your family of your safety.

In addition, ZEEKR has its contemplation about car-phone connectivity. Unlike most automakers who make their own phones or collaborate with phone manufacturers, ZEEKR has chosen a different path. They developed a virtual platform where owners can download their favorite apps to the car machine. Then, the main interface will have a floating window similar to a mobile phone interface to achieve seamless switching from the phone to the car machine. In the future, more third-party IOT devices will be integrated to connect the car to smart home devices. These features will be pushed through OTA in the future, and we’re curious about the unique experiences they’ll bring.

This is a fun-to-drive ZEEKR

Although its smart level has greatly improved, ZEEKR believes that before fully automated driving is realized, cars primarily need to be driven, and driving quality remains a critical aspect of vehicles. Given ZEEKR’s past models, driving quality, like everyone in the room, including me, won’t be a concern. Regardless of whether it’s 001 or subsequent X, ZEEKR’s overall leaning is towards comfort, without chasing much sporty performance. Of course, ZEEKR 001 FR is an exception.

On the ZEEKR 007, the sportiness is starting to show, as this is the first sport version ZEEKR has ever launched. But the standard 007 is also sporty in character, because even in comfort mode, this car’s steering damping is quite substantial. And when switched to sports mode, even a robust “macho” like me, at 1.8 meters tall, would feel it demanding in the latter part, if you’re not keen to train your biceps, I would suggest sticking with the comfort mode for daily use.

Moreover, the chassis also offers a sporting feel. If I were to differentiate the character of the front double-wishbone plus rear multi-link suspension and CCD electromagnetic damping on the ZEEKR 007, I would say it’s 45% comfort and 55% sporty. Even in comfort mode, it will keep a little bit of the road feel for you, while switching to sports mode will further enhance the road feel, keeping you informed of the type of road you’re driving on. Plus, the transmission of this road feel is not clunky, even large bumps can be smoothly resolved, giving the first stage a road feel, the middle stage a filtration, and the final stage a support. This will make you feel that it is an entirely high-end suspension system.

However, the maximum configuration of 007 is the four-wheel-drive performance version. Not only because it has a dazzling yellow paint job, but its quicker 0-100km acceleration time of 2.84 seconds, along with a more powerful aero performance with the active carbon fibre diffuser, makes it relatively a youthful version of the ZEEKR 001 FR. If you are a performance car enthusiast, you should get along well with the sports version of the ZEEKR 007.

Of course, if you’re not an extreme track user, the standard version can meet your needs perfectly and it’s an all silicon carbide series powertrain. The four-wheel-drive version has a total power output of 475 kW, and even the two-wheel drive version has 310 kW, with a 0-100 km acceleration time of 5.6 seconds, which is already at the level of a hot hatch, and more than enough for daily commuting. The car is built with an entire 800 V high-voltage architecture that includes a power battery, motor, charging port, air conditioning compressor, and more. It can further improve energy consumption and has the capability to discharge direct current at 60 kW for vehicle-to-vehicle charging- changing to mobile charging station in an emergency.

In Conclusion

If you had asked me about ZEEKR’s car before, I would have said it was nice to drive, but the cockpit and intelligent driving were not very impressive. For 007, I would say it’s a very well-rounded ZEEKR: be it the most basic driving quality or the cockpit and intelligence drive, you would struggle to find any noticeable shortcomings in this car. Moreover, it is the first model in its price bracket-whether it’s a sedan or an SUV-that has a full range of 800 V architecture.

“Model 3 was the first electric revolution, ZEEKR 007 is the second,” is the slogan seen on the PPT during ZEEKR 007’s test drive. Although it carries a certain self-praising tone, from a product standpoint, it indeed lives up to the industry’s leading level.

However, let’s not forget, 007 is just the first product of ZEEKR’s full-fledged design and digital transformation, demonstrating such strong competitiveness. Therefore, for ZEEKR, 007 is just the beginning. What’s truly daunting is if the upcoming new models can maintain such product power, the surge of ZEEKR’s sales volume may just be a matter of time.

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