Vietnamese automaker VinFast reported last week that it had shipped its first batch of VF 8 electric SUVs for the U.S., with the first deliveries due before the end of the calendar year.
The shipment of 999 EVs departed Hai Phong, Vietnam, Nov. 25 for what is scheduled to be a 20-day voyage to California, where they'll be offloaded and sent to customers, according to a company press release. Following delivery of the first batch of U.S.-market cars, VinFast plans to start deliveries of the VF 8 in Canada in Europe in early 2023.
The VF 8 will be followed to market by the larger VF 9, which will begin deliveries in Vietnam and other markets in the first quarter of 2023, VinFast said, confirming a delayed timeline first hinted at in September, when the first 100 VF 8 electric SUVs were handed over to customers in the automaker's home market.
Vinfast VF 8
In the same release, VinFast noted that it signed a deal with subscription service Autonomy at the 2022 Los Angeles auto show for 2,500 VF 8 and VF 9 models, but didn't specify whether any cars from the initial shipment would go toward that order. Earlier this year, Autonomy announced the fleet purchase of 23,000 EVs that it will then offer to customers on a subscription basis, and VinFast is one of the 17 automakers with vehicles included in the deal.
The VF 8 is 187.0 inches long, 76.1 inches wide, and 65.6 inches tall. It launches in Eco and Plus forms, both with dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrains. The Eco version makes 349 hp and about 369 lb-ft of torque, while the Plus version makes 402 hp and about 457 lb-ft. Based on the European/global WLTP cycle, VinFast claims a range of up to 260 miles for the Eco and up to 248 miles for the Plus.
As with Vietnamese-market models, VinFast is expected to offer a number of driver-assist features in the U.S., including adaptive cruise control, active lane control, automated parking, and a summon feature. VinFast also has a bundle of Smart Services, encompassing an app and features like voice recognition, and in-car online shopping and video games.
Vinfast VF 8
VinFast's timeline in the U.S. has indeed been very fast. It established its U.S. headquarters just last November, and that same month displayed early prototypes of the VF 8 and VF 9—then named VF e35 and VF e36, respectively. A prototype drive showed the VF 8 had a long way to go, but the company has continued moving fast, spooling up production and opening its first U.S. retail stores in California in July. VinFast has said it will expand its retail footprint to other states in the future.
While initial deliveries for the U.S. are being sourced from Vietnam, VinFast is planning a factory in North Carolina to build U.S.-market VF 8 and VF 9 EVs starting in 2024. The company received $1.2 billion in incentives for the factory, which it claims is the largest economic incentive package ever from North Carolina.
In addition to the VF 8 and VF 9, VinFast said it will soon start reservations for smaller VF 5, VF 6, and VF 7 electric crossover models. A collaboration with Chinese battery supplier CATL may mean more EVs for emerging markets as well.