Zhejiang Geely Holding Group – the Chinese owner of Volvo, Lotus and Proton, among other brands – is developing a new electric vehicle architecture… and it’s letting other companies use it.
It’s previewed its new Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) in the Zero concept from fledgling brand Lynk & Co, which first opened up shop in 2018.
Geely will make the architecture accessible to other OEMs, with Geely Holding chairman and founder Li Shufu saying, “We intend to offer the benefits of this innovation to other manufacturers – reflecting the common interests in our industry in addressing the challenges of climate change.”
The company says it’ll deploy the SEA platform across its portfolio of nine global automotive brands, which include Geely, Volvo, Proton, Lotus, Polestar and Lynk & Co.
Whether Daimler will be one of the OEMs to utilise it isn’t yet known – Geely has a 9.7 per cent stake in the German giant.
The SEA architecture can accommodate everything from A-segment city cars to larger D- and E-segment vehicles and can be configured with front-, rear- or all-wheel drive and one, two or three electric motors. A variant will also be developed for light commercial vehicles, while Geely has also mentioned a range extender model.
SEA will support over-the-air updates and autonomous driving technology, and promises a maximum range in excess of 700km, though Geely – like many Chinese automakers – follows the more lenient NEDC measures.
The first SEA vehicle to be introduced will be a production version of the Lynk & Co Zero.
Designed by a team led by Geely Design senior vice president Peter Horbury, the Zero concept is a hatchback measuring 4850m long, or 266mm longer than a Volkswagen ID.4. Its wheelbase is just under 3000mm long; in contrast, the ID.4’s wheelbase spans 2766mm.
Geely claims it’ll do the 0-100km/h sprint in under four seconds and boast an electric range of over 700km under the NEDC cycle.
To be revealed at this week’s Beijing motor show, the Lynk & Co Zero will enter production next year. Sales will begin in the second half of next year in China and Europe.
While its titular brand Geely remains a predominantly Chinese market-only brand, the new Lynk & Co brand was founded with global exports in mind. It was tipped to enter the European market this year with an unconventional subscription-type model.
The company has said it also plans to eventually enter the Australian market. While Geely sells Volvo and Lotus vehicles in Australia, it hasn’t fielded one of its domestic brands since introducing its namesake brand in 2009.
The Corolla-sized Geely MK was the only model sold here, until Geely closed up shop locally in 2014. Evidently Geely has come a long way since the MK, which didn’t even offer stability control.
It acquired Volvo in 2010 and bought a controlling stake in Lotus in 2017, also bringing Proton under its umbrella to help expand its presence in right-hand drive markets.
Last year, it introduced a new brand for the Chinese market, called Geometry, which will exclusively sell electric vehicles. It plans to offer ten electric vehicles under that brand by 2025. Its first model was the mid-sized A sedan.