The 1,020-horsepower Tesla Model S Plaid has had the market for high-performance EVs all to itself for more than two years, but that will change as early as next month, at least in China.
That’s because the first Tesla Model S Plaid contender, the Zeekr 001 FR, will start deliveries in China in October with a high-performance electric powertrain that delivers 1,265 horsepower.
Built by Geely Group, the Zeekr 001 FR is based on the regular 001 mid-size liftback that recently went on sale in Europe, but it is a completely different kind of beast.
Whereas the most powerful variant of the regular Zeekr 001 features a dual-motor powertrain that makes 536 horsepower (400 kilowatts) and 516 pound-feet of torque, the 001 FR is an absolute monster with 1,265 horsepower (943 kW) from four silicon carbide electric motors.
This enables the Zeekr 001 FR to accelerate from zero to 62 miles per hour in 2.07 seconds “in a rolling start scenario.” This suggest a rollout is involved, although Zeekr does not provide details. In the case of the Model S Plaid, Tesla says its electric performance sedan rockets from zero to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds with a one-foot rollout. It’s also worth noting that the 1,234-hp Lucid Air Sapphire is claimed to do 0-60 in 1.89 seconds, but the company makes no mention of a rollout.
Since we don’t know the length of the rollout used by Zeekr and the fact its acceleration time is measured to 62 mph and not 60 mph, it sounds like these three performance EVs will be really close when it comes to acceleration. Of course, we won’t know for sure which one will come out on top until these super EVs duke it out on the drag strip.
Until that happens, you should know that the Zeekr 001 FR is not just fast on a straight line; it’s also fast in corners thanks to torque vectoring capabilities enabled by the distributed quad e-drive design and in-house software and hardware technologies.
The EV maker says the system can push maximum power to each wheel and can adjust power to each wheel in milliseconds for a true performance experience. Oh, and it can do tank turns!
The Zeekr 001 FR is also fast when it comes to charging. The vehicle features a 100-kilowatt-hour CATL Qilin battery pack that supports ultra-fast charging thanks to the brand’s enhanced 800-volt electrical system. As a result, the battery can charge from 10 to 80 percent in just 15 minutes.
Zeekr also says the 001 FR features a built-in satellite communications pack, allowing for total communications in the most remote spots “effectively eliminating cellular network black spots whilst on road trips.”
From a styling perspective, the Zeekr 001 FR distinguishes itself from the regular 001 thanks to unique exterior and interior designs with a strong focus on weight reduction.
The FR variant boasts a motor sports-inspired body kit with a more aggressive front bumper, a sharp front splitter, larger air intakes, side skirts, bigger wheels shod with performance tires, as well as a roof spoiler at the back doubled by a fixed rear wing, and a sporty bumper that integrates a massive diffuser.
The vehicle utilizes many lightweight carbon fiber components to improve aerodynamic performance and add downforce, including the front splitter, mirror caps, rear spoiler, and rear wing. No photos of the interior have been released yet.
Zeekr says that deliveries of the 001 FR will start in October 2023 in China, with production limited to 99 cars each month. Owners will be given personalized training sessions to become accustomed to driving high-performance vehicles.
In August, the company noted that the 001 FR would be priced above 1 million yuan ($137,750), undercutting the Tesla Model S Plaid that starts around $147,000 in China. It’s not clear if the Zeekr 001 FR will be sold outside China.