Chinese EV brand Zeekr secures $750M funding at $13 billion valuation

Geely Galaxy Light. (Image Credit: Geely)

Zeekr, the premium electric car brand of Chinese automaker Geely has raised $750 million in a new funding round that boosts its value to $13 billion.

The EV company will use the funds to support technology research and finance global development and its expansion to the European market this year. Zeekr made significant strides in 2022, selling over 70,000 cars predominantly in mainland China. The EV company now plans to expand in Europe, the second-largest EV market in the world after China.

The funding is “a vote of confidence in the growth prospects and strong future of Zeekr,” said Daniel Donghui Li, CEO of Hangzhou-based Geely Holding Group. “Geely Holding will continue to explore ways to unlock value across our portfolio as we pioneer new services and mobility solutions to meet customer demand across the world.”

Founded in March 2021, Zeekr landed its first external funding round in August of that year. In China, the entry-level Zeekr 001 starts at 300,000 yuan ($43,000) compared to the starting price of ¥261,000 ($37,500) for Tesla‘s Model Y.

Zeekr 001 interior layout
Zeekr 001 interior layout. (Image Credit: Zeekr)

Investors: Those who backed Zeekr in its Series A funding include a few bigwigs like Mobileye’s founder and CEO Amnon Shashua, Chinese battery giant and Tesla supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL), China’s state-owned Yuexiu Industrial Fund, Tongshang Fund and China’s Xin’an Intelligent Manufacturing Fund.

Geely Holding: Headquartered in Hangzhou, Geely Holding operates world-class vehicle and powertrain manufacturing plants in China, the U.S., UK, Sweden, Belgium, and Malaysia. Geely Holding owns and manages several car brands including Zeekr, Geely Auto, Geometry, Volvo Cars, Polestar, Lotus, London Electric Vehicle Company, and others.

The Zhejiang-based automaker sold roughly 1.4 million units in 2022 of which around 328,700 were EVs. For 2023, Geely Auto has set a sales target of 1.65 million units.

Zeekr powered by CATL Qilin batteries

Zeekr will be the first electric car manufacturer to use CATL’s mass-produced Qilin batteries after CATL and Zeekr signed a five-year strategic partnership in August 2022. Zeekr 009 will be the world’s first car with Qilin inside. Zeekr 001 will be the world’s first model equipped with Qilin batteries of 1,000 km range.

Zeekr 001. (Video credit: Zeekr)

What’s the big deal about Qilin batteries?

CATL, the world’s biggest maker of electric car batteries, has launched the next-generation “Qilin” batteries. CATL’s batteries are known for their high energy density, long lifespan, and fast charging capabilities. According to CATL:

  • Qilin has a range of over 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) on a single charge.
  • Qilin, named after a legendary creature in Chinese mythology, is 13% more powerful than Tesla’s 4680 design.
  • The power comes from its new cell-to-pack (CTP) technology, which uses a single structure for the battery pack rather than connecting a group of individual modules.
  • The battery charges faster than existing cells and is safer and more durable.
  • CATL’s Qilin battery was recognized by TIME as one of the best inventions of 2022.
CATL and Zeekr
CATL and Zeekr signed a five-year strategic partnership in August 2022 to promote the technological advancement of the new energy industry. (Image Credit: CATL)
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