Vietnamese electric vehicle (EV) automaker VinFast is coming to the U.S., setting its sights on competing with top dog Tesla. A product of the Vingroup conglomerate, VinFast wants to become a world EV presence.
As for its vehicles, Americans are going to need proof before buying. With the country officially over the 5 percent tipping point that suggests major EV growth is on the horizon, the market may be more welcoming of a newbie.
VinFast will sell EVs in the U.S. and seeks a competitive edge against Tesla.
Founded by Vingroup originator Pham Nhat Vuong, VinFast is a fresh-faced entity that wants to raise the stakes in the EV market — including in the U.S.
AutoForecast Solutions’ vice president of global vehicle forecasting Sam Fiorani said about Vuong, “His goal is to raise Vietnam economically on the world stage.” Fiorani added, “Most countries that want to reach that level have an automotive manufacturer.”
VinFast staffs former BMW employees and has multiple models planning to enter U.S. market.
VinFast reportedly employs former BMW staffers, which helps bring it legitimacy despite being a relatively unheard-of brand launched in December 2021. The brand’s ambitious global CEO, Le Thi Thu Thuy, says it will sell 1 million EVs globally in the next 5–6 years.
VinFast is preparing to build its own auto plant in North Carolina, investing $2 billion into the first phase of the project. It’s set to open in July 2024. Its vehicles include the VF8 and VF9, a mid-size and full-size electric SUV, respectively.
The company also plans to launch its line of electric scooters in the U.S., Vespa-style rides dubbed the Vento, Feliz, Klara, and Theon.
While Vingroup planned to go public in the U.S., it has decided to postpone those plans until at least 2023 in order to make room for the forward capital needed to expand globally.
VinFast vs. Tesla: Both are legit, but which is better?
Tesla vehicles have an all-electric range up to 752 miles, though the average for the brand is about 405 miles. Comparatively, the VinFast vehicles get 292–396 miles. This puts Tesla at an advantage considering the relatively sparse charging network in the U.S. However, that reality could change in the coming years as charging infrastructure is set to expand.
The VinFast mid-size SUV starts at $40,700, while the full-size variant starts at $55,500. This is much more affordable than Tesla’s Model Y, which starts at $65,990, or its Model X, starting at $120,990. However, Tesla’s base Model 3 begins at $46,990, though it’s a compact car in a different class than the VinFast SUVs. The extra monetary wiggle room could give Americans more flexibility in upgrades or simply further open up the window for EV ownership.
VinFast’s design may be more appealing to EV-hesitant Americans who want to avoid Tesla’s spacey look. While VinFast and Tesla share the same charging standards in Europe, that may not be the case in the U.S., so drivers will have to wait and see how convenience compares.