In yet another sign that the COVID-19 recovery has green stamped all over it, the Vietnamese startup VinFast has let word slip that it is on track to aim its very first electric vehicle straight at the US market. The company is banking on long range and a Pininfarina design to win over the hearts and minds of the motoring public, so let’s take a closer look.
VinFast Electric Vehicle Heading For US, Eventually
Actually, there’s not much available to look at, at least for now. Reuters reporter Khanh Vu reported the word from VinFast (part of the sprawling Vingroup JSC conglomerate) in a brief article last week and the news has been burning up the Intertubes ever since.
According to Reuters, the new electric vehicle will have a range of 310 miles (500 kilometers), which should last the average driver about 10 days assuming they spend the daily average time of less than an hour behind the wheel and go an average of 29 miles.
If all goes according to plan, the US version of the car will make its first appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, with mass production targeted for July 2121.
Selling electric vehicles in the US is the name of the game. Back in December, Bloomberg reporters Nguyen Kieu Giang and K Oanh Ha reported that Pham Nhat Vuong, “the Southeast Asian country’s richest man and now in charge of the new automaker, is so intent on exporting electric vehicles to the lucrative American market in 2021 that he’s plowing as much as $2 billion of his own fortune to reach that goal.”
Wowzers. Looks like they’re still on track, COVID-19 or not.
Hearts & Minds For Vietnam’s First Automaker
VinFast has a lot to prove, considering that it only made its first gasmobiles in Vietnam last year, and it’s already moving into EV territory.
That’s the thing of it, though.
VinFast is Vietnam’s first domestic mass-production automaker, and it’s no coincidence that Vingroup suddenly decided that the time is right for Vietnam to get its very first domestic automaker in gear right at this particular time. It’s further proof that gasmobiles are on the way out and electric vehicles are on the way in.
The company’s output of gasmobiles for the local market already puts it ahead of several other imported brands for the first quarter of 2020, and it came in fifth overall, so it seems that local drivers are tuning into the idea of supporting Vietnam’s very own car factory.
Additionally, VinFast is already tapped to produce 3,000 electric buses for Vingroup’s new Vinbus Transport Service Co., Ltd., which will operate as a nonprofit in Vietnam. Siemens is the technology partner in that venture (another Reuters scoop from 2018), and factory construction is already under way.
What are the odds that Siemens is behind VinFast’s debut electric vehicle, too?
About That New Electric Vehicle Battery…
If you have any thoughts about that, drop us a note in the comment thread (before you do, take a look at Siemens’s press release from September 5, 2019).
Meanwhile, VinFast is also starting off on the right foot in the battery department. According to Reuters, the company has hooked up with the A-list energy storage firm LG Chem for its 310-mile (499 km) battery.
Well, well, well! Didn’t General Motors just hook up with LG Chem for its new Ultium EV batteries? Oh yes, they did that.
The Ultium battery news made a big splash so it will be interesting to see what LG Chem has cooking for VinFast.
Come to think of it, back in 2015 CleanTechnica took note of the GM-LG EV battery mashup when the car maker introduced the Bolt. Apparently the relationship has been good for the Bolt, with GM reporting good news for Q1 despite the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. VinFast is probably aiming to have some of that magic rub off on their EV as well.
Lots going on! All this is by way of saying that EV stakeholders are already turning up the heat on the heels of the COVID-19 crisis, and EVs are poised to gain an edge over gasmobiles as the economy picks up again.
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Photo (screenshot): via VinFast.