Driving range is a crucial concern for consumers when choosing an electric car. It is widely believed that Mercedes Benz’s concept vehicle VISION EQXX is the only EV capable of traveling 1,000 km on one charge. However, recently, Chinese automaker Geely seems to have crossed the 1,000-km threshold, too, with a much simpler design.
The EV brand of Geely, Zeekr, announced a new model of its all-electric Zeekr 001 a few days ago, claiming that the car can go as far as 1,032 km per charge. What kind of cutting-edge technology has the EV maker adopted to achieve such an impressive performance?
Among commercially available EVs, the Lucid Air boasts the longest range, followed by Mercedes Benz’s EQS and Tesla’s Model S. The three models are all engineered with superb battery management technologies, an ultra-low drag design, and high-density batteries, enabling them to achieve an EPA range of 600–800 km.
By contrast, the 2023 Zeekr 001 reaches the 1,000 km level of range using only two simple technologies. Its drag design and power consumption are just average, but the EV is equipped with a super large 140kWh battery pack boosting its driving range, which is 40% higher than that of the EQS.
The Zeekr 001 is powered by CATL’s latest CPT 3.0 “Qilin”, of which the variant based on ternary cathode materials (nickel, cobalt, manganese; NCM) boasts an energy density of up to 255 Wh/kg, while that of its LFP-based counterpart can be up to 160 Wh/kg. Previously, the company did not mention exactly which vehicle can make a 1,000-km trip on a single charge, but now we know.
▲Zeekr 001 is powered by CATL’s latest battery “Qilin”
Not every Zeekr 001 is equipped with such a big battery. Instead, only the WE 100kWh model comes with a battery pack of 1,000-km range, for which the buyer has to spend RMB 103,000 (approx. NTD 500,000) more, adding up to a cost of RMB 400,000 for buying the EV.
However, a large battery does not actually guarantee desirable driving range, as Geely adopts a different range test standard for the Zeekr 001. The range of the Lucid Air, EQS, and Model S is calculated based on the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) test, which is arguably the strictest and most realistic testing standard of EV range. By contrast, the Zeekr 001’s range is calculated based on the Chinese Light-Duty Vehicle (CLTC) test cycle. It should be noted that an EPA range value is roughly equivalent to 60 to 70% of a CLTC value.
That is to say, a Zeekr 001 equipped with a large 140kWh battery is able to run 650 km or more on a single charge, making it comparable to the Model S. However, a CATL-announced report on energy density reveals that such a large battery (LFP-based) weighs a stunning 875 kg, which is 300 kg more than the Model S’ 85kWh pack. The number does not even include the total weight of other auto parts for battery scale-up.
Carrying a hefty battery pack will definitely bring negative impact on an EV, including a more time-consuming charge. Nevertheless, no carmaker has explored what exactly the impact can be. To see whether purchasing a long-lasting but bulky EV is really a bad idea, we have to wait until the Zeekr 001 is delivered.
(Image credit: Zeekr)