Malaysian carmaker Proton found itself in much esteemed company upon joining forces with Geely. And we’re not just plotting the six degrees of relationship linking it to Volvo all over again. The Chinese automotive giant has made quite a name for Lynk & Co, its boutique premium brand, too. And it has revealed its latest creation ahead of the delayed 2020 Beijing Auto Show: the Lynk & Co Zero Concept.
After rolling out the 01, 02 and 03, Lynk & Co has gone back to Zero, a concept car touted to offer “the first look at the future of Lynk & Co as a leader in pure electric vehicles globally”. The company clearly means business. It has managed to sell 300,000 cars in China since surfacing in 2018 after all. And confidence levels are so high that it is giving third-party manufacturers and potential rivals access to the modular Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) underpinning the new Zero Concept, making it the first open-source EV platform in the world.
Within the group itself, Geely has stated its intent to “deploy the SEA architecture across its portfolio of nine global automotive brands”, which includes Proton and Volvo. The three brands already share the Common Module Architecture (CMA) platform that underpins the Volvo XC40 and Proton X50. Nearly 700,000 vehicles built on this platform have been sold to date, and the X50 is expected to add to the numbers once it’s formally on sale.
This established synergy is enough reason for us to believe that a fully-electric Proton, or at least one based on a Geely EV riding on the SEA platform, is likely on the cards. And if the Zero Concept is anything to go by, the future is promising. The large five-door hatch bordering crossover proportions a la Jaguar I-Pace – Lynk & Co calls it a “technology-oriented performance touring coupe” – is scheduled to start production in 2021. And Lynk & Co claims it will offer over 700km in range (NEDC) and do 0-100kph in under four seconds once it hits the roads. Those are truly remarkable figures that could send the Porsche Taycan into a fit of worry.
Lynk & Co has also confirmed that the wheelbase of the Zero Concept measures just under 3,000mm, which puts it in the ballpark of large premium saloons like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class where size is concerned. This makes Geely’s proposition of an open-source network that allows individual carmakers to streamline and reduce their R&D costs using the SEA platform all the more appealing to a wide spectrum of carmakers.
Reckon any of the big boys will bite anytime soon?