Chinese electric-car start-up takes cheeky jab at Tesla

A new electric-car company owned by one of China’s largest car makers has poked fun at Tesla and its sneaky methods of measuring vehicle acceleration, with its latest high-performance model.

A Chinese company has taken a jab at US specialist Tesla’s sneaky method of timing electric-car acceleration to make its vehicles look quicker than they are.

Zeekr – a new electric-car manufacturer owned by Chinese car giant Geely, which also owns Volvo, Polestar and Lotus – has unveiled the 001 FR, its quickest and most powerful electric car yet.

It is powered by four electric motors developing 930kW and 1280Nm – more than double the 400kW of the standard model – for a claimed 0-100km/h acceleration time of 2.36 seconds.

However – poking fun at the method the electric-car manufacturer uses to time the acceleration of its fastest cars – Zeekr reportedly said at the car’s unveiling the 0-100km/h time is 2.07 seconds “if you measure it like Tesla”.

It is referring to Tesla’s use of ‘one-foot rollout’, a practice derived from drag racing that excludes the one foot (30cm) gap on a drag strip between where the car starts, and where it would begin to be timed, from the acceleration time.

In this space a high-performance car can reach approximately 5km/h, cutting a few tenths of a second off the acceleration time – and making the vehicle seem quicker than it really is from a standing start.

The practice of subtracting one-foot rollout from acceleration times is common among US car magazines, and has also been used by other car makers such as Ford and Dodge for select models.

Tesla claims its quickest car in production today – the Model S Plaid super sedan, which has three electric motors and 761kW – can cover 0-60mph (97km/h) in 1.99 seconds, or 0-100km/h in 2.1 seconds, both with one-foot rollout excluded.

The car maker’s quickest car in Australia – as the Model S is no longer sold here – was until last week the Model 3 Performance, which claims 0-100km/h in 3.3 seconds, again with one foot of rollout subtracted.

The Model 3 Performance is no longer available to order, as part of the updated Tesla Model 3 line-up unveiled last week. Click here for more details.

As reported by Car News China, the Zeekr 001 FR – short for ‘Future Roads’ – can achieve a claimed top speed of 280km/h, and stores energy in a 100kWh battery from CATL, a Chinese company that also builds batteries for Tesla.

The two front electric motors develop 155kW each, while the two rear motors – which have rotors wrapped in carbon-fibre, and are claimed to be 50 per cent more energy dense than the dual rear motors in a Tesla Model S Plaid – produce 310kW each.

Zeekr says the maximum power output is limited to 10-second bursts, and can be deployed 12 times from a standing start without the car overheating, as long as the battery is about 50 per cent.

An 800-volt electrical architecture is said to enable a 10 to 80 per cent fast charge in 15 minutes.

Features include a carbon-fibre aerodynamics kit that Zeekr claims enables lateral acceleration (cornering force) of up to 1.4G, and a ‘tank turn’ mode that spins the left and right wheels in different directions to allow the car to turn on the spot.

It rides on KW adjustable suspension – with 12 stages of compression and 16 stages of rebound – plus AP Racing 10-piston front and four-piston rear brake calipers which clamp 420mm front and 410mm rear carbon-ceramic Brembo brake discs.

Filling the arches are 22-inch forged wheels – said to be 10 per cent lighter, and 40 per cent stronger than “ordinary” alloy wheels – wrapped in 265mm front and 295mm rear tyres.

There is also launch control, a boost mode button on the steering wheel, and a selection of G-force and other performance data meters.

The Zeekr name has been trademarked in Australia, however the Chinese car maker has not announced plans to sell its vehicles – which also include a city SUV and a people mover – locally.

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