Geely's Zeekr brand officially started customer deliveries of a new version of the Zeekr 001 model, equipped with the all-new CATL Qilin battery (English "Kirin"), which is the longest-range electric car available on the market in China, and potentially globally.

The Zeekr 001 with a 140-kilowatt-hour (kWh) CATL Qilin battery has a CLTC range of 641 miles (1,032 km).

That's a very high result, although we must note that the CLTC test cycle used in China is very optimistic. It's difficult to say what would be the result at 70 miles per hour or on the EPA test cycle, but any real-world result around 500 miles would put the Zeekr 001 among the longest-range BEVs ever.

Zeekr announced the 622+ miles (1,000+ km) range in mid-2022, and as promised, the new version arrived in Q2 2023, joining the existing 86-kWh and 100-kWh battery versions. However, let's not get too excited, because at least for now, there will be only a limited run of 1,000 units with the CATL Qilin battery.

Moreover, the option is available on the base WE trim (rear-wheel drive), and not on the all-wheel drive trims (WE, ME and YOU), which have a lower range using 86-kWh or 100-kWh packs.

The 140-kWh battery version also is substantially more expensive than the 100-kWh one:

  • Zeekr 001 WE trim (100 kWh, RWD): $42,750 (300,000 CNY)
    CLTC range: 461 miles (741 km)
  • Zeek 001 WE trim (140 kWh Qilin battery, RWD): $57,426 (403,000 CNY)
    CLTC range: 641 miles (1,032 km)
  • Difference:
    180 miles (290 km) or 39% more range, using 40% higher battery capacity
    $14,677 (103,000 CNY) or about $367 per kWh

The CATL Qilin battery is essentially the third generation of CATL's cell-to-pack (CTP) battery system, which might consist of prismatic lithium-ion cells (LFP or NCM chemistry) to achieve much higher energy density - up to 255 Wh/kg (pack level), in the case of NCM version.

Series production of this system started in March, according to the Chinese media, and first it was used in the Zeekr 009 MPV, which entered the market in April, offering 510 miles (822 km) of CLTC range, when equipped with a 140-kWh battery. The standard model is equipped with a 116-kWh battery for 436 miles (702 km) of CLTC range.

Other models with the CATL Qilin battery will be Seres's Aito BEVs.

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