The automotive industry has called every compact and aspirational premium electric crossover a "Model Y fighter" for the past five years. Many brands have tried to challenge Tesla, and some have even had modest success. But it’s not that easy to dethrone the best-selling vehicle in the world.  That’s not going to stop plenty of brands from trying again, though. This time it's Zeekr coming at Tesla with a not-officially-named crossover still referred to by its codename, the CX1E. Given Zeekr’s success over the past year, this crossover could be the model that could put the screws to the Model Y in certain markets.

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U.S. and European Union Implement Chinese Car Tariffs

The U.S. is not the only place implementing tariffs on Chinese-made EVs. Although not as high as the U.S's 100% tariff, the EU has placed a 19.9% tariff on Geely models made in China and shipped to Europe. That goes on top of the EU's standard 10% tariff on imported cars.

The CX1E is part of the brand’s push to introduce seven models by 2026. Some are likely to stay China-only exclusives like the minivan-shaped Zeekr Mix. But, others will venture outside of China and do battle in the markets where Zeekr is expanding, like Mexico, South Korea and a growing number of countries in Western Europe.

From what we can see, the CX1E looks like an SUV version of the Zeekr 007 sedan I recently reviewed. The two have a similarly shaped lightbar at the front. At the rear, the taillight bar is similarly thin, with two brake and reverse lights integrated near the bottom of the bumper cover. Just like the 007, the rear door shut line terminates with the edge of the rear wheel opening. There’s even what looks to be a LiDAR sensor just above the top of the windshield, just like the higher-trimmed versions of the Zeekr 007.

Gallery: Zeekr CX1E Teaser

Thus, we can logically assume that this CX1E will use the same SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) as the Zeekr 007. This could mean it will also get a partially megacast chassis and well over 600 horsepower. It also means that the CX1E would have the same 800-volt-class architecture, too. In the 007, this 800-volt architecture allows a peak DC fast-charging rate of 500 kW. If the CX1E comes with the same 75 kWh battery, it could zip from 10-80% in about twelve minutes. That’s a pretty big upgrade over the Tesla Model Y, which takes over 30 minutes to go from 10-80%.

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Now, unfortunately for Zeekr’s sake, things have gotten pretty hostile toward Chinese brands in the U.S. and Europe. The chances of the CX1E or any Zeekr product entering the U.S. aren’t as high as they were, say, six months ago. But, because Zeekr is a Geely brand, and is responsible for a lot of its vehicle development, there’s a very real chance that we will see the guts of the CX1E in a future Volvo or Polestar. If it’s sized right, priced well and made in a country that won’t be subject to a profitability-ruining tariff, a Volvo-ized Zeekr CX1E could make a stellar XC60 replacement.

A Zeekr representative said that the official launch name and specifications will be released at a later date.

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