On February 13, Geely’s high-end smart electric vehicle brand Zeekr announced the completion of round A financing of $750 million, setting its valuation at $13 billion. This round of financing was led by Amnon Shashua, the CEO and founder of the well-known autonomous driving technology company Mobileye, as well as by Chinese battery giant CATL, Yuexiu Capital, Tongshang Capital, and an unnamed investment firm in Quzhou, Zhejiang Province.
Zeekr’s new funds will be mainly used for product research and development, global business development, and user experience improvement. The five investors specialize in autonomous driving, battery technology, new materials, and high-end manufacturing processes. CATL has been a long-term strategic partner of Zeekr. Proceeds from this funding round will help Zeekr integrate its industrial resources.
As of January 31, Zeekr had delivered over 80,000 vehicles. The company plans to launch two new EV models in 2023, and projects to reach 650,000 vehicles in sales by 2025. This would make Zeekr one of the top three companies in global market share of high-end EVs.
As a cutting-edge brand backed by Geely, Zeekr was regarded by many car critics as a highly competitive brand for its advanced control systems and attractive design. The Zeekr 001, which has won multiple awards in various vehicle competitions, is priced at a base of 300,000 yuan ($43,945). It delivered 70,000 units last year.
However, there has been a recent rise in consumer complaints about the Zeekr 001, including total power system failure, inability to operate the vehicle, unfulfilled promises from the company, failure to pick up vehicles as scheduled, and misleading advertising.
For example, one Zeekr vehicle owner reported three severe issues in the Zeekr 001 system that compromise safety.
First, the “one-button rest” function requires continuous depression of the button to work, which renders the feature highly inconvenient to use. Second, according to the user manual, restoring the driver’s seat to its original position while driving can be achieved either by activating the brake or tapping on the control screen. However, it was reported that the seat does not return to its original state using the brake method. Third, after exiting rest mode, as the driver fastens his seat belt and prepares to drive, the seat would suddenly move backwards as if the vehicle was entering rest mode again.