VinFast Automotive— the Vietnamese car startup — is set to build its first North American assembly plant in North Carolina’s Triangle Innovation Point, right outside of Raleigh. The company will invest a total of $5 billion in the facility which will eventually employ 13,000 workers, according to the Raleigh News and Observer. The Vinfast plant won’t just be North Carolina’s first EV facility, it’ll also be the state’s first car manufacturing plant. Toyota also announced plans last year to build a $1.29 billion battery manufacturing plant in Randolph County, further cementing North Carolina’s status as the next potential EV hub.
We’ve already heard about VinFast’s two new electric crossover cars — the VF32 and the VF33 — that it plans to debut in the US this summer. But the North Carolina plant will focus on building two other cars: the VinFast VF 9, a 7-passenger all-electric SUV and the VinFast VF 8, a 5-passenger, all-electric mid-size SUV. The company is aiming to make both lines available for delivery in the US later this year.
As far as SUVs go, both VinFast models will be reasonably priced. The smaller car, the two-row VF 8, will retail for $39,400. The three-row VF 9 will retail for $53,700. Drivers have the option of selecting different battery sizes for each model. The VF 8 with a smaller battery has a range of 285 miles, with a bigger battery the range increases to 313 miles. Meanwhile, the VF 9 is likely to come with a larger battery pack that could give it a range of up to 423 miles, InsideEVs reported. If this actually happens, this would put the VF 9 at a higher maximum range than many of its competitors in the electric SUV space. For the sake of comparison, the 2021 Tesla Model X has a range of 360 miles and the Kia EV9 SUV has a range of 300 miles.
Even as far as EV startups go, VinFast is relatively new to the game. The company is a subsidiary of a Vietnamese conglomerate called VinGroup, and only started making cars in 2017. Both its cars and scooters are popular in Vietnam, but it has yet to sell any cars abroad, reported the Raleigh News and Observer. But with its first US manufacturing facility in the works, the Vietnamese startup is likely to gain more credibility stateside.