Vietnamese upstart VinFast is best known for its full-sized electric vehicles but the vehicles making the biggest impact are of the two-wheeled variety. VinFast produces 4 different models of electric scooters to meet the growing needs of Vietnam’s population, ranging from smaller, more affordable Feliz S scooter up to the larger, more powerful Theon S. Scooters are the backbone of transportation in Vietnam with the majority of citizens owning one or two scooters.
While exploring the VinFast ecosystem in Vietnam, the streets of every city we visited were absolutely buzzing with scooters. It was a common sight in Hanoi to see two, three or even four people from a family riding on a single scooter. Scooters are routinely used to carry up to four people and it’s common to see them cruising around city streets loaded up with people. These two-wheeled vehicles are used for much more than just moving people around and it was common to see scooters loaded up with groceries, goods for their shop, or supplies for a home repair project. They’re the ultimate utility vehicles in southeast Asia and VinFast is helping those very same scooter riders go electric.
Disclaimer: VinFast paid for the author’s travel and accommodations to attend this tour.
As part of our tour, we visited the electric scooter production lines at VinFast’s factory in Hai Phong, Vietnam and were able to spend a few minutes riding all four of their electric scooters on a short loop course. Let’s dive right into the manufacturing process, where we saw electric scooters being assembled.
Scooter General Assembly
At the factory, we dove deep into VinFast’s electric scooter General Assembly line and picked through every nook and cranny. As with most General Assembly lines, it is a fairly manual process and it was impressive to see such a high percentage of female workers on the production line. Manufacturing just about anywhere around the world is traditionally male-dominated and in my informal survey, VinFast’s lines had the highest percentage of women of any factory I’ve been to.
Most production lines have different stations for each component, with technicians specializing in a single task. VinFast took a different approach, staging all the parts needed for a single build at the front of the line, with a team of workers assembling the scooter from start to finish as it moves towards the end of the line. As the assembly station moved down the line on the metal conveyor, the team of technicians bolted on one part at a time.
Forks, Suspension, motors, wiring, and batteries were added in order, with a completed scooter rolling off the line at the end. The battery packs for the scooters are also assembled locally in VinFast’s Battery Assembly factory and brought over to the scooter General Assembly line for installation.
None of the components for eScooters were actually manufactured in the General Assembly area but instead sourced externally and brought into the area on racks to feed into the overall flow of the assembly line. VinFast uses automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to move parts around and it was cool seeing the little guys towing trains of parts around the General Assembly. AGVs have been used in manufacturing for decades and they continue to be a reliable way to automate another step in the production process.
At the end of the production line, quality checks were performed to ensure everything was assembled correctly. Checks are done to ensure the scooters functioned properly and that all the panel gaps were within tolerance.
EV Charger Assembly
VinFast’s compact electric scooters were being assembled alongside VinFast’s electric vehicle charging equipment. When we were in the factory, VinFast was building 11 kW, 22 kW, and dual nozzle 60kW CCS2 DC fast charging stations. The scooters themselves use small pedestal chargers which we saw installed in the wild at a local VinCom Mega Mall installed alongside banks of 22 kW EV chargers.
Around front of the same mall, a handful of VinFast’s DC fast chargers were installed for drivers needing to top up their EV tank faster. These VinCom shopping malls have more charging capability than anything I have seen here in the United States.
The key focus for VinFast is the path to bringing electric vehicles to market. In the United States and Europe, we tend focus on the four-wheeled variety but in Southeast Asia, two-wheeled vehicles like scooters, motorcycles, and bicycles reign supreme. In that regard, VinFast is cranking out the bikes, with row after row of the staging area near the scooter General Assembly line full of the compact electric vehicles.
First Ride of VinFast’s Electric Scooters
After touring VinFast’s electric scooter General Assembly line in Hai Phong, I was excited to spend some time riding them. As anyone who’s visited a country with high scooter and motorcycle adoption knows, two wheelers fill in the cracks between cars, buses, and trucks not only with their physical presence but also the higher pitched noise of their small gas engines. Transitioning these vehicles to fully electric variants like the ones VinFast is churning out at its factory will help transform cities in the coming years by eliminating the noise associated with this popular form of transportation, in addition to the emissions.
At the VinPearl resort in Nha Trang, VinFast hosted a ride-and-drive for members of the press, investors, influencers, and early adopters to test their eScooters on a short circular track. While short, the track allowed for plenty of acceleration and turning, giving me an overall gauge of each of the vehicle’s capability in a matter of minutes.
The thing that stood out to me right out of the gate was the lack of noise. With five or six eScooters buzzing around the track at a given time, only the slight whir of rapid acceleration even stood out. The eScooters glided silently around the track, with the occasional whir of someone’s rapid acceleration kicking up a low buzz. Smiles from the seasoned riders constantly pierced through the silence, telling everyone around just how delightful the scooters were to ride. Just check out these pics. It was like the people riding the scooters were actually having fun.
I hopped onto each of VinFast’s four models in succession and found each of them to be extremely capable. Silent, yes. But they also had plenty of kick to make riding them comfortable and useful. At just over 200 pounds, I put a significant strain on any scooter I’m on and I was impressed to find that with Vinfast electric scooters, I didn’t even notice my weight, though the scooter likely did.
It had plenty of power to keep me moving at whatever speed I wanted to, as quickly as I was interested in accelerating. They weren’t sluggish or slow in any way, with the top of the line Theon S packing the most punch, with its 7.5 kW motor. The rest of the scooters are kitted out with 3 kW motors which were still more than enough for urban commuting.
The Theon S boasts a top speed of 99 kph / 62 mph meaning it could likely even stand up to short stints on the freeway. Stepping down from there, the Vento S’s 5.2 kW motor delivers a top speed of 89 kph / 55 mph. The Klara S and Feliz S share the same 3 kW power rating on their motors for a top speed of 78 kph / 48 mph. It’s great to have the options, especially for cultures in Asia and Europe where scooters are already fully integrated and safe to ride with existing infrastructure. Here in the US, it’s a bit more of an uphill climb in most areas. I’ve included the full spec sheets for all four models at the bottom of this article for reference.
The Two-Wheeled EV Revolution
Scooters are already foundational to the transportation fabric in Southeast Asia but VinFast also has plans to bring the two-wheeled electric vehicle revolution to the United States. The company recently announced it would be building its electric scooters at its new factory in Chatham County, North Carolina alongside its VF 8 and VF 9 electric vehicles.
That’s great news for two-wheeled vehicle enthusiasts and anyone else looking for more options to electrify their commute.
VinFast Theon S
VinFast Vento S
VinFast Klara S
VinFast Feliz S
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