- VinFast delivers its first U.S. vehicles.
- Sales are initially limited only to California EV buyers.
- Known as the VinFast VF 8 City Edition Eco and City Edition Plus, the driving range is estimated at 207 and 191 miles, respectively.
- VinFast is part of the multibillion-dollar Vingroup conglomerate, which plans to begin building EVs at a North Carolina-based factory starting in 2024.
First VinFast Electric SUVs Delivered in U.S.
VinFast has delivered the first 45 VF 8 electric SUVs to customers in California
Vietnamese automaker VinFast has finally handed keys to its first U.S.-bound VF 8 electric SUVs to 45 customers in California.
This delivery comes after a roughly two-month delay related to the initial batch of 999 examples of the VF 8 that arrived stateside in December of last year. The vehicles had to be prepped and certified before they could be officially handed over to buyers. A lower-than-expected EPA driving range and recent changes to the price of the VF 8 sport-ute led to doubt as to whether the upstart automaker might have overpromised on several fronts.
But at long last, the VF 8 has landed in the US. That's good news, at least for those initial 45 VinFast customers. The bad news is that the first VF 8s arrive in what’s called City Edition Eco and City Edition Plus trims, with each having substantially less driving range than originally advertised. The price is also higher than expected.
As recently as last year’s New York International Auto Show, where VinFast had several of its electric SUVs on display, the VF 8 was said to have a range of 260 to 292 miles. Its starting price was touted at approximately $41,000 (a figure that did not include destination charges). This figure has since ballooned to $50,200 (including destination) for the initial City Edition models, and to roughly $59,000 for standard VF 8s (which aren't here yet). For now, the City Edition is only available as a lease — more on that later.
Even stranger, the lower original price excluded the SUV’s battery pack. VinFast's intention was to sell or lease EVs using a sliding scale of battery pack subscriptions, based on the vehicle type, the battery pack size and a client’s annual mileage. This confusing scheme has been subsequently dropped from the company's U.S. pricing structure.
According to VinFast, the VF 8 City Edition Eco boasts 348 horsepower, all-wheel drive, and 207 miles of driving range. After a down payment of $5,174, it's available as part of a two-year lease for $399 per month. Take note that 207 miles of range is bettered by almost every EV sold in the U.S., including many that cost thousands less than the VF 8.
The VF 8 City Edition Plus is equipped a bit more generously, with more standard features (such as 20-inch alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof), and bumps power to 402 hp. Yet range drops, this time to a meager 191 miles per charge. It's offered with a two-year lease agreement that, after $5,413 due at signing, comes in at $599 each month.
Since these first VF 8 SUVs are built in Vietnam, they're not eligible for the recently restructured federal EV tax credit system. With this in mind, and despite its rocky start, VinFast says it's committed to EV production in the U.S., which will take place at a new multibillion-dollar factory outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. When it's fully operational, VinFast says the facility will have an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles.
The VinFast VF 8 is here, though not quite in the form originally promised. Still, with this delivery hurdle complete, it will be interesting to see how VinFast regroups and makes good on its ambitious U.S. strategy.