The mid-sized SUV segment is the hottest part of the wider electric vehicle (EV) market, and Chinese brand Zeekr is finally set to enter it.

    Zeekr, part of the Geely empire which also includes Volvo and Polestar, has been spied testing a vehicle that will battle the top-selling Tesla Model Y as well as a raft of rival SUVs such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Kia EV6.

    “We will launch a C-class SUV probably in three months, firstly in China, later on global [markets],” Zeekr’s emerging markets vice president, Mars Chen, told Australian media in June, referring to it explicitly as a Model Y rival.

    Referred to internally as the CX1E, the Zeekr SUV will reportedly use the same SEA1 version of Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture that underpins the mid-sized 007 sedan, with double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension.

    The 007 features an 800V electrical system and a choice of 75kWh lithium iron phosphate or 100kWh ternary lithium batteries.

    It’s available with either 310kW/440Nm single-motor rear-wheel drive or 475kW/710Nm dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrains.

    The new SUV will slot in above the small X SUV, and soon become the middle child in an expanded Zeekr SUV lineup with the brand also confirming it’s working on a three-row model to sit atop the range.

    The company currently offers five vehicles, and said it plans to launch at least two new models every year.

    Zeekr’s first model was the large 001 liftback, and it has subsequently revealed the 007 sedan and two people movers (Mix and 009), as well as the aforementioned X SUV.

    Unlike most regions, people movers and mid-sized sedans remain popular in China, which perhaps explains why these segments were prioritised by Zeekr over SUVs.

    But the mid-sized SUV segment is a huge one globally, and the Tesla Model Y was not only the best-selling vehicle in China in 2023, it was also the world’s.

    Zeekr is launching in Australia in the second half of 2024, with the X and 009 thus far the only vehicles confirmed for our market.

    The company has said not every market it sells vehicles in will receive every vehicle it makes.

    “There are markets where we are only bringing two products, there are markets where we are planning to bring five products,” said Javier Garcia-Gallardo, head of Zeekr design in Shanghai.

    “We start a product in China until we are confident about the reliability, do all the process of homologation and legislation for exporting this product, and then we see the needs of every market and we adapt the product to export globally,” he added.

    MORE: How the latest Chinese brand to hit Australia sets itself apart from Volvo, Polestar siblings
    MORE: China’s Zeekr has Tesla Model Y, Kia EV9 in its sights with its next SUVs

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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