Vietnamese EV startup VinFast has begun testing vehicles in Michigan, GM Authority has just learned.
VinFast has some GM-related history, since the firm had acquired the GM plant in Hanoi a few years ago. Since then, The General and the Vietnamese EV company have entered a strategic partnership that allows VinFast to have exclusive distribution rights of Chevy products in Vietnam. Now, VinFast is actively testing vehicles in what is essentially GM’s backyard.
As a reminder, VinFast is part of a larger conglomerate, called Vingroup. Formerly known as Technocom Corporation, Vingroup was founded in 1993 before moving to Vietnam in the early 2000s.
As an EV startup, VinFast has announced several models that it plans to manufacture. GM Authority reported on the first batch of potential vehicles in January 2021, which consisted of three electric crossovers. The first was the VF31, a subcompact crossover with a 43 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, 114 horsepower electric motor and an estimated range of 186 miles. Next up was the VF32, a slightly larger electric crossover with a 201 horsepower electric motor and 90 kWh battery. And finally, the VF33, which featured a dual motor powertrain and a maximum range of 342 miles.
However, the VF31, VF32 and VF33 never found their way to production. Since then, VinFast unveiled a new lineup in April 2022. Scaling the selection down, the Vietnamese EV company introduced the VF8 and VF9. The VF8 is about the size of a mid-size crossover, while the larger VF9 is roughly on-par with a midsize plus three-row. Both models will be sold in dual-motor Eco and Plus variants.
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.
Unique to VinFast is the battery subscription program for the lithium-ion battery pack. This subscription allows VinFast to lower the entry price of the vehicle by having the customer pay a monthly fee for depending on how far they drive. By separating the price of the battery from that of the vehicle, VinFast hopes to attract more customers by removing the worry of the battery’s condition.
VinFast is offering two plans. Designed for customers “who travel infrequently,” the Flexible Plan is priced at $35 per month for VF8 and $44 per month for VF9, and allows for a maximum of 310 miles of travel. Meanwhile, the Fixed plan offers unlimited mileage and will cost $110 per month for VF8 and $160 for VF9. At the time of this writing, the VF8 and VF9 are available for reservation only, and are not yet on sale.
As far as GM competition goes, right now only the Cadillac Lyriq serves as a direct rival. This will change in the near future, as GM plans to field 30 EVs by 2025, including the upcoming Blazer EV and Equinox EV.