Have You Ever Heard of Vinfast Electric Cars?
Given I write so much about innovation and transportation, it is not uncommon for my mailbox to become inundated with newsletters, invites, and advertising for all things technical. It would be an understatement to say I was a bit intrigued after coming across two offerings by Vinfast in their VF8 and VF9 electric vehicles. At the very least, I had to know more about this “under the radar” company and what these vehicles had to offer.
Vinfast’s parent company is Vingroup Joint Stock Company, formerly Technocom, and it was initially founded in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in 1993. Started by Vietnamese youths, Technocom first started with food production and the development of the Mivina brand with items like instant noodles and mashed potatoes. I learned through an article by Maxon Pugovsky that they eventually sold Mivina off to Nestle in 2009. In 2000 the company moved to Vietnam to contribute to the country’s development and never looked back.
There are several Vin-related companies under the Vingroup umbrella, but our main focus for this article is Vinfast, the company's automotive group created in 2017. In Vinfast’s own words:
Originating from Vietnam, VinFast is committed to the vision of becoming a global smart EV brand. VinFast has laid the foundation for the electric car and motorbike industry in Vietnam while passionately promoting the worldwide EV revolution.
The VF8 and VF9 vehicles are their all-electric offering in an already crowded field, so what exactly do they have to offer? This article will focus on the VF8:
This mid-eSUV will seat five passengers and has a targeted range of 292 miles. The styling is described as sophisticated, as both the VF8 and VF9 were designed by famed Italian design house Pininfarina.
Expect to go from 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds (ECO) as the vehicle has a projected 457 ft-lb of torque (PLUS). The VF8 has a dual motor all-wheel drive system making it a good utility all-seasons vehicle. The VF8 is available with two available packages ECO and PLUS. When upgrading to the PLUS, you will first be provided with a panoramic sunroof.
The wheel size will go from 19" to 20" (Optional 21" available).
348HP and estimated 298 miles of range(ECO) and 402HP estimated 277 miles of range(PLUS). The added horsepower will sap the range.
Leatherette Interior (ECO) and transitioning to Leather (PLUS)
Manual Liftgate (ECO) and powered liftgate with kick sensor (PLUS)
From there, the two trims will carry the same specifications. Both trims will have a relatively large 15.6” interactive vehicle display and infotainment system with a heads-up display.
VinFast has made it a point to include many of the features we have come to expect in some of the latest models of cars. These include lane assist, lane changing assist, highway driving assist, cruise assist, and collision warning. To maintain safety throughout, there are also 11 airbags included, accompanied by collision mitigation, parking assist, and a driver monitoring system.
They are both equipped with DC Fast charging time and can bring the charge to 70% within 10 minutes. To achieve their estimated ranges, you can expect these approximate times.
Standard Range: approximately 24 minutes
Enhanced Range: approximately 31 minutes
The Standard Vinfast warranty is ten years or 125,000 miles.
I have to say; this is somewhat of a surprise to me. The battery is available as part of a subscription. You don’t own the battery, meaning the vehicle's cost is significantly less expensive than one with a battery cost. Vinfast claims the following:
VinFast covers all batteries with a vehicle lifetime warranty, meaning VinFast maintains responsibility for all battery repairs, maintenance, and replacement costs throughout the vehicle's life. Batteries are replaced when charging capacity drops below 70%.
You can subscribe to a Fixed Plan at $110/month. This would include unlimited mileage for those who are worried about range.
You can subscribe to a Flex Plan at $35/month. This would include 310 miles of range with the option to pay .11/mile for any overage.
Final Thoughts on the Battery Subscription:
Not owning the battery is good and bad. The Good: Looking at the positive side, VinFast will replace the battery free of charge if there is ever a problem. There have been horror stories from buyers of Electric Vehicles paying more to replace the battery than the cost of the car. With this subscription, it will never be an issue. The upfront cost of the vehicle will find you spending between $15,000 and $20,000 less. The Bad: This is a mandatory battery subscription, and there are no other options (Flex/Fixed or Bust). You will have to welcome another monthly charge to tack on to your new automobile payment. A user like myself would have to spring for the Fixed plan as mileage limitations will not bind me.
Final Thoughts on the vehicle overall:
This vehicle by VinFast is a perfect vehicle for an early adopter. Let’s face it; we have an unknown entity in VinFast with no cars stateside. They are unproven as there’s no quality history, no crash-test data, and the vehicle details are not fully realized. This is not a risk-free venture.
Reservations for your place in line are being taken for $200. To entice the buyer, they have also started the VinFast Charge program. Reserve your VinFast vehicle today and receive your choice of charging options: a VinFast Home Charger with installation or access to nationwide public charging. Starting price for the ECO trim level is $40,700 and can quickly rise once you add in the options and the battery subscription.
Only time will tell whether Vinfast will become a global manufacturer, but they said the same about Tesla!