Zeekr Previews 003 CUV Ahead of U.S.-based IPO

The CUV heads the Geely-owned electric-vehicle brand’s global sales push.

Greg Kable

January 31, 2023

2 Min Read
Zeekr 003 front 1.4
Electric powertrain in Zeekr 003 performance model will produce around 422 hp.Geely Group

Zeekr previews its third production model in a series of photographs ahead of a planned unveiling of the battery-electric crossover-style SUV at the 2023 Shanghai auto show in April.

The official photographs issued to the media by Zeekr show a camouflaged prototype of the four-door model, which insiders at the company's Hangzhou-based headquarters in China suggest will receive the 003 badge.

Key to Zeekr’s plans to double its annual sales to 140,000 units in 2023, the 003 is being positioned for global sales as a sister model to the Smart #1The two models have been developed in tandem and will be produced together in China.

Known under the internal codename BX1E, it is based on parent company Geely’s Scalable Electric Architecture platform, the same structure used by Zeekr for its first two production models--the 001 liftback-style sedan and 009 multi-seat MPV.

Little information has been divulged about the 003’s drivetrains, though Wards understands it will be sold with a choice of single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel-drive systems, with outputs ranging from around 262 hp up to about 422 hp in a range-topping performance model.

Styled by an in-house team working under Geely design director Stefan Sielaff at the company’s design center in Gothenburg, Sweden, the compact SUV continues Zeekr’s reputation for delivering cars with highly contemporary styling and modern detailing.

Zeekr 003 side.jpg

Zeekr 003 side

Thin LED driving lights are integrated within the shut lines of the hood and horizontally mounted headlamps at the front, a look reminiscent of the treatment used by the Geely-owned Lynk and Co. brand on various models.

The side of the new Zeekr model receives large wheelhouses with deep crease lines within the surrounding bodywork, conventional rearview mirrors and flush door handles as well as an upswept beltline, wide C-pillar treatment and sloping roofline.

Distinctive horizontal taillamps with simple LED graphics housed at the base of the rear window dominate the styling at the rear, giving the 003 plenty of visual width. Vertical reflector units are mounted at the outer edges of the rear bumper. As with the Smart #1, the tailgate boasts a high-loading lip owing to the housing of a battery within the floor.     

Dimensions have not yet been divulged, though expect a car similar in size to the new Smart model, which runs to 168.1 in. (4,270 mm) in length, 71.6 ins. (1,819 mm) in width and 64.6 ins. (1,641 mm) in height.

In its first full year of operation in 2022, Zeekr sold 72,000 cars, mostly in China.As part of its globalization plans, it also confidentially filed for an initial public offering in the U.S. in December. Details have not yet been revealed, though Zeekr, which will be spun out from Geely to become its own entity,  reportedly aiming to raise more than $1 billion through its stock exchange debut on a valuation put at more than $10 billion.

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