The next model from the Chinese brand Zeekr will be out of the ordinary. It will be a compact minivan. An object that has become rare in today’s automotive world, and which is largely designed for the needs of driverless taxi specialist Waymo.
The compact minivan is dead, but some would like to revive it. This is particularly the case for large VTC or taxi companies. We have thus seen Didi join forces with BYD to create the D1, Uber participate in the aborted development of a car dedicated to this use… Not always successful, which did not prevent Waymo, a subsidiary of Google, from partner with Zeekr. The two partners have already presented the Vision M concept, the production version of which will be revealed very soon, probably at the Beijing Motor Show in April.
From concept to series, the vehicle has evolved, with a more rounded front. It should use the principle of the Zeekr 007 optics with a large animated light strip, the Stargate Light, but we retain an ultra-short hood. It contributes to the general proportions of the machine, with a large wheelbase and minimalist overhangs, for the benefit of the occupants.
They will gain access on board without incident, with front and rear pantograph doors on the passenger side, without a center pillar. On the driver’s side, there are two more classic hinged doors. No interior view yet, but this minivan should offer 5 seats. Waymo is considering versions without a steering wheel, but the launch will be with a more classic model, with steering wheel and pedals… Likewise, the equipment necessary for autonomous robot-taxi driving will not be installed as standard. Zeekr will market its classic vehicle for other customers, and Waymo will install its equipment after the fact.
Concerning the technical characteristics, the 4.80 m minivan uses the Zeekr 007 platform. It could also benefit from the Golden Battery to ensure rapid charging. But the access versions will probably make do with simpler batteries and less powerful motors than the sedan’s base 310 kW. Battery exchange does not seem to be on the agenda, but Geely offers this technology for other entities in the group such as Livan.
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