New premium EV brand Zeekr explores US or Hong Kong IPO options, sources say – FutureCar.com

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author: FutureCar Staff

The first electric vehicle of the Zeekr brand was the shooting brake 001.

The electric vehicle brand Zeekr Intelligent Technology Ltd. (“Zeekr”), which is owned by Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (“Geely”), plans to launch an IPO in the United States or Hong Kong, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Zeekr has asked investment banks for proposals, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke to Bloomberg. The company has not yet decided on the size of its IPO, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because the plans are still private. Additionally, no timeline has been set for a possible U.S. IPO and Zeekr could still opt for another round of funding first, according to Bloomberg.

Geely announced Zeekr in March 2021 as a standalone brand to compete with Tesla, XPeng, NIO Inc. and others in the premium electric vehicle category in China. The company targets young tech savvy people, the most likely to buy an electric vehicle. This group of buyers is looking for advanced vehicles that extend their digital lives, with connectivity features and smart technologies such as automated driving.

Zeekr is also backed by billionaire founder and chairman of Geely, Li Shufu, and the new EV brand seeks to tap into growing investor appetite for the sector, which has helped make Tesla the most valuable automaker. in the world.

Geely raised $500m for Zeekr in its first-ever external funding round in March 2021, which valued the company at $9 billion. The funding round was led by Intel Capital with participation from Tesla Contemporary battery supplier Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), online entertainment group Bilibili Inc. and private equity firm Boyu Capital. Zeekr said its investors will jointly own a 5.6% stake in the company. Investors have also signed long-term investment partnerships with Zeekr.

The first model produced by Zeekr was the “Zeekr 001”, a battery-powered compact wagon, also known as a “shooting brake” in the automotive industry. At first glance, the sleek Zeekr 001 looks like a smaller version of the Porsche Panarmera Sport Turismo.

The Zeekr 001 is built on Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) EV platform. The SEA is the world’s first open-source electric vehicle architecture, according to Geely. The SEA can support the development of models with a wheelbase ranging from 1800 mm to 3300 mm.

Zeekr has sold around 20,000 OO1 electric vehicles since its launch in October 2021. The electric vehicle maker plans to introduce six more models within five years, aiming for annual sales of 650,000 units by 2025.

Like Tesla’s vehicles, the 001 and future electric vehicles from Zeekr will support software upgrades throughout the life of the vehicle.

In addition to the new premium brand Zeekr, parent company Geely also owns Swedish company Volvo Cars. Geely bought Volvo Cars from Ford Motor Co in August 2010 for the bargain price of $1.8 billion, helping the brand establish itself as a growing automaker in China.

Geely and Volvo Cars also jointly own the electric performance brand Polestar, which is operated by Volvo Cars as a competitor to Tesla.

Zeekr’s parent company, Geely, also has a 9.7% stake in German automaker Daimler AG.

In December 2021, Waymo, Alphabet Inc’s self-driving unit, unveiled a futuristic new electric robotaxi to be built by Zeekr.

The electric vehicle provided by Zeekr will be specially designed for Waymo’s autonomous transport service called Waymo One which will compete with Uber and Lyft. Waymo said the Zeekr multi-passenger commercial robotaxi was designed to prioritize the comfort, convenience and preferences of Waymo One customers.

Waymo’s decision to use a vehicle platform from Zeekr will introduce the EV brand to customers in the United States for the first time.

Waymo plans to integrate its full self-driving platform it calls the “Waymo Driver” into a retail version of an all-electric Zeekr vehicle as part of its OEM collaboration with Geely, Zeekr’s parent company.

Geely was established in 1986 and launched its automobile brand in China in 1997 as a subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

In July, Geely launched its own outdoor lifestyle electric vehicle brand in China named “RADAR” which will compete with adventure electric vehicle maker Rivian. Geely says RADAR is the first all-electric outdoor vehicle brand in China.

The brand will target urban professionals in China who want an electric vehicle to go on weekend adventures, such as camping. It’s surprisingly similar to Rivian’s marketing strategy.

Following the announcement of the RADAR brand, the company unveiled its first electric adventure vehicle, a pickup dubbed “RD6”. The general appearance of the RD6 resembles the Honda Ridgeline and Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup trucks. The RD6 will officially launch on September 9.

Production and deliveries of the RD6 will begin in the fourth quarter of 2022.

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