Good News Piles Up for VinFast

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Slate grey Vinfast car

VinFast, a Vietnamese electric vehicle startup with headquarters in Singapore and Los Angeles, is gathering serious momentum in the United States. In the last 7 days the company has announced a partnership with Taiwan-based solid state battery company ProLogium, opened 6 stores in California, and secured $1.2 billion in incentives for a manufacturing plant in North Carolina.

The partnership with ProLogium comes in the form of a memorandum of understanding, and an investment from the EV hopeful valued in the “tens of millions” of dollars. The memo outlines a business structure that gives VinFast priority to purchase ProLogium’s solid state battery packs and ancillary technology.

ProLogium will produce the solid-state batteries in one of its Asian manufacturing facilities, and—if all goes well—the batteries could be available in VinFast electric vehicles by 2023. A successful partnership could put VinFast on pace to be the first EV manufacturer with solid state battery tech in their cars.

The battery’s technical specifications have not been released —but solid-state technology offers myriad advantages over traditional lithium-ion architecture. Benefits include faster charging, better thermal properties, and potentially higher range. If the company can deliver on a 2023 timeline, they may be the first to market, ahead of hopefuls such as QuantumScape, Solid Power, and Mullen. The race is on. Stay tuned.

VinFast opened six stores this week in California, with locations in Santa Monica, San Mateo, La Jolla, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and the Bay Area. The showrooms are stocked with the company’s first two EV’s, the VF 8 and VF 9. Why the numbers start at 8 is anyone’s guess, but the VF 8 is a 5-seat AWD SUV with an expected range of just over 300 miles and a price tag starting at $40,700. The VF 9 is a full-sized SUV with 3 rows of seating, a max range of 369 miles, and a base price of $55,500.

VinFast showrooms will also likely serve as a forum for the company to explain its confusing battery leasing program. Yes, in addition to the sticker prices listed above, buyers will need to lease the battery packs for their cars. As Forbes reported:

The basic plan comes in at $35 a month for the VF 8 and $44 for the VF 9. Motorists will get up to 310 miles of free use each month. Motorists who go above that will pay an additional 11 cents per mile for the VF 8 and 15 cents with the VF 9. An alternate, all-you-can-drive plan will run $110 a month for the VF 8 and $160 for the VF 9.

VinFast’s good week was capped by the announcement that the company had secured $1.2 billion in incentives from the state of North Carolina to build a factory in Chatham County — the largest economic incentive package in state history. VinFast is planning for the plant to cover 2,000 acres, allowing for production of up to 150,000 vehicles per year. Construction is scheduled to start before the end of 2022 and production may come online as early as July 2024.

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