ZEEKR mulls bringing its quad-motor Tesla Model S Plaid competitor over to Europe


Exactly two months after calling out Tesla directly while announcing a speedy performance version of its flagship 001, Chinese automaker ZEEKR is hinting at possible sales of the EV in Europe. The company already has two models making their way overseas and could soon add the third, according to an executive at the company.

ZEEKR remains a truly young EV brand but has quickly gained some major ground in the industry with the backing of its parent company, Geely. Having been founded as early as 2021, ZEEKR produced 100,000 EVs in its first 18 months, led by its flagship sedan, the 001.

Since then, we’ve seen the automaker introduce two additional models, including the X SUV, which is currently making its way over to Europe alongside the aforementioned 001. Earlier this month, ZEEKR announced additional expansions beyond China and Europe with partnerships in four new countries in the Middle East.

On top of that, ZEEKR came out swinging with a quad-motor performance version of its first sedan called the 001 FR, short for “future road” – described as a new type of beast. Clearly not one to pull any punches, ZEEKR posted the first images of the 001 FR alongside a caption that read, “Plaid is dull,” throwing shade at Tesla by calling out its top-tier S sedan – one of the fastest production EVs in the world.

ZEEKR has the specs (on paper, at least) to back up its clout, touting the 001 FR’s 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time at 2.07 seconds, slightly edging out the 2.1-second acceleration posted by Tesla. With models starting pre-orders in Europe, ZEEKR may just be bringing another EV overseas, further competing with Tesla amongst countless others.

Credit: ZEEKR

ZEEKR hints at bringing 001 FR to EU to compete with Tesla

During a recent press event, ZEEKR Europe’s head of product and connectivity, Alessandro Massimino, told Automotive News Europe that entry overseas with the 001 FR was definitely on the table:

We are considering whether to import the 001 FR to Europe to make it our halo model.

Massimino added that ZEEKR is currently evaluating the cost to homologate the “future road” EV for the European market as it is vastly different from its 001 predecessor currently being sold. A potential MSRP and production volumes are two vital factors also weighing into the equation as to whether to expand the shooting brake EVs availability outside of its native China.

Local deliveries of the 001 FR haven’t even begun yet but are scheduled for late October, and ZEEKR’s current production volume is currently limited to a mere 99 units per month. Regardless of where it is inevitably sold, the ZEEKR 001 FR has the makings to be a true Tesla competitor in both luxury, performance, and EV technology.

It is the automaker’s first model atop an 800V platform, which is powered by a 100 kWh battery featuring CATL’s next-generation Qilin cells. The result is 1,265 horsepower, besting the Tesla Model S Plaid’s 1,020 hp, although the latter has ZEEKR beat with a top speed of 322 km/h (200 mph) compared to the 001 FR’s 280 km/h (174 mph).

As we previously reported, a source shared that ZEEKR is asking over RMB 1 million ($138,700) for the 001 FR, which is about 129,000 euros. For comparison, the Tesla Model S Plaid is currently sold for 109,900 euros in Europe.

For now, ZEEKR is focused on delivering the standard 001 and X EVs to its new markets overseas, and Massimino said the automaker is also considering bringing a 100 kWh, longer-range version of the 001 to the EU first.

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