At CES 2022 this week, VinFast made several important announcements. First, it said it will stop building gasoline-powered cars by the end of this year. Going forward, it will focus its research and development efforts on developing battery-electric powertrains for all its vehicles. The company says the move will make VinFast one of the world’s first automotive companies to completely switch to building pure electric vehicles and will confirm its position as a leader of the EV revolution.
Second, it confirmed pricing for the two electric SUVs it intends to start selling in the US this year. The VF 8 is a 5-passenger vehicle about the size of a Ford Edge. It will be priced at $41,000 in America and €36,133 in Europe. Details are sketchy at the moment, but the company claims the car will have 402 hp (299 kW) and 472 lb-ft (640 NM). 0 to 60 times will be around 5.5 seconds and range based on the European Emission Test Cycle is said to be 316 miles. EPA range will be lower by about 20%.
The VF 9 is a larger vehicle with 3-row seating for either 6 or 7 passengers. It has the same powertrain but with a larger battery, as its range is said to be 422 miles, again as measured by the European test cycle. Acceleration to 60 mph is a bit slower at 6.5 seconds. Prices start at $56,000 in the US and £49,280 in Europe.
If you are confused by the model designations, that’s understandable. The VF 8 used to be known at the VF e35 and the VF 9 as the VF e36. If you look at the top photo above, you will see all 5 electric cars VinFast expects to introduce this year. The VF 5, VF 6, and VF 7 are A, B, and C segment vehicles not intended for sale in the US.
Both US-bound cars are attractively styled — Italian design studios Pininfarina and Torino had a hand in that — and thoroughly modern on the inside with the expected touchscreens and such. Motor Trend attended the CES 2022 show and reports the cars on display were locked so they couldn’t sit inside.
The VF 8 and VF 9 will have Level 2+ self driving capability in the Eco and Plus versions with Level 3 or Level 4 technology available for the Premium level cars. Both will come with “Smart Home, Mobile Office, In-car Shopping, In-car Entertainment, and many other convenient, advanced features that create an exhilarating experience for every journey and everyday life,” the company says.
“VinFast envisions a sustainable future for people and the planet through green, clean and safe mobility. This is a future built on intelligent services, outstanding customer experience, and a deep care for the planet and future generations. VinFast is committed to innovative vehicle design, quality, and technology, along with excellent customer service. We even aspire to greater achievements — to be one of the leading electric vehicle manufacturers in the world while inspiring our customers to be boundless together and join hands in the electric vehicle revolution, creating a sustainable future for all,” said Le Thi Thu Thuy, Vingroup Vice Chair and VinFast Global CEO in a press release.
Battery Leasing Plan
Also at CES 2022, VinFast announced a battery leasing program that will offer customers two choices. Flexible comes with a minimum subscription fee for 300 miles (500km) per month with an additional charge per mile afterward. The Fixed lease allows unlimited driving. The company says either option will cost about the same as buying gasoline to travel the same distance, which is a little odd given that electricity usually costs less, but the upside is that VinFast will perform any required battery maintenance required and replace the battery at its expense if it loses 30% or more of its capacity. The press release does not make it clear how the leasing programs affect the list prices of the cars.
US Factory Coming
Finally, the company says it plans to start selling US made cars by the end of 2024 and will build its own assembly complex and battery manufacturing facility in America to support is EV plans. Le tells Reuters, “We have narrowed down from I think, over 50 sites to about three sites.” She said a decision about where the factory would be located will happen this year and the the factory will also manufacture electric buses.
Is there an electric car from VinFast in your future? The company certainly hopes so. Like all new enterprises, it will trip and stumble early on, but it certainly seems to be fully committed to the EV revolution. That’s a good thing.
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