Vietnamese automaker VinFast celebrated the official U.S. launch of its VF8 and VF9 battery-electric crossovers this week, which offer a unique battery subscription model to help lower their initial purchase price.
The VinFast VF8 is about the size of a mid-size crossover, while the larger VF9 is roughly on-par with a full-size three-row. These models will be sold in dual-motor Eco and Plus variants, with the Eco models more focused on range and efficiency and the Plus models more focused on performance. For both crossovers, the Eco models are rated at 348 horsepower and the Plus models are rated at 402 horsepower. The two models are also offered with their own regular and long-range battery packs. The longest-range battery pack in the VF8 Eco provides an estimated providing 292 miles of range, while the longest-range pack in the VF9 eco provides 360 miles of range.
Pricing before destination freight charges for the VF8 starts at $40,700 for the Eco and $47,700 for the Plus, while pricing for the VF9 starts at $55,000 for the Eco and $60,500 for the Plus. There’s a slight catch, though: these prices do not include the price of the lithium-ion battery pack. To get that, the customer will have to enter a separate battery lease deal, with VinFast offering a mileage-limited Flexible Plan and an unlimited Fixed Plan. The Flexible Plan is designed for customers “who travel infrequently,” the automaker says, with a monthly battery subscription fee of $35 for VF 8 and $44 for VF 9. This is a monthly fee for a maximum of 310 miles of travel.
The Fixed plan, meanwhile, offers unlimited mileage and will cost $110 for VF8 and $160 for VF9. This is described as a lifetime subscription fee that can be easily transferred over to the new owner of the vehicle if they sell it second-hand. While this strategy may seem somewhat confusing and a bit costly, VinFast believes consumers will be enticed by not having to worry about their battery pack. If an owner’s battery experiences a fault or range dips below 70 percent of its original capacity, VinFast will replace it free of charge.
“By separating the price of the battery from the acquisition value of the automobile, VinFast takes on all the risks related to the vehicle’s battery and ensures a reasonable price for its products, while providing customers with peace of mind about the battery’s quality during use,” it said in a statement. “VinFast also commits to provide a lifetime battery warranty covering all maintenance and repair costs.”
The VinFast VF8 and VinFast VF9 crossovers are produced at the automaker’s production facility in Hai Phong, Vietnam. Order books for the two models will open later this year. It will be interesting to see if the battery subscription model is successful and if it will be adopted by other automakers, such as General Motors or Ford, if it ends up being well-received.