Vietnamese Carmaker VinFast Will Build Electric SUVs, Buses, and Batteries In North Carolina
The relatively new company has ambitious plans that include five electric SUVs.
Construction of the 2,150-acre campus near Raleigh will begin this year with production slated to start in July 2024. The site is in Chatham County in what is known as the Triangle Innovation Point megasite. Toyota recently announced plans to build a $1.29 billion battery plant in nearby Greensboro.
VinFast has ambitious plans to build 150,000 electric vehicles a year once fully ramped up, and eventually produce battery packs on-site, as well. It is the first North American plant for VinFast.
Full Lineup of VinFast Electric SUVs on Tap
The plant will make the VinFast VF 9, a large three-row, seven-passenger electric SUV, as well as the VinFast VF 8, which is a two-row, five-passenger, mid-size electric SUV. We first saw these SUVs at the 2021 Los Angeles auto show where they were introduced as the VinFast VF e36 and VF e35. Those who attended the 2022 CES saw the introduction of three smaller electric SUVs: the VF 5, VF 6 and VF 7
The N.C. campus will have three main areas. In addition to SUV assembly, there will be areas for electric bus production as well as production of batteries to power the EVs.
It is a $4 billion investment in a facility expected to employ 7,500 workers by 2027. VinFast will invest up to $2 billion in the first phase. Like all big automotive deals, VinFast will get an incentive package from the state. This one is worth $854 million over 32 years. Chatham County will contribute $400 million.
"Having a production facility right in the market will help VinFast to proactively manage its supply chain, maintain stabilized prices and shorten product supply time," said Vingroup Vice-Chairwoman and VinFast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy in a statement. The goal is to make the startup's EVs more accessible to customers.
Who Is VinFast?
VinFast was founded in 2017 by Vietnamese billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong and is headquartered in Hanoi. It is part of the larger Vingroup conglomerate. In 2019, the first gasoline-engine-powered vehicles were launched in Vietnam using BMW-licensed engines. VinFast developed its first three car models in 21 months and they are produced in Haiphong, Vietnam, in a facility that will increase its capacity to 950,000 vehicles per year by 2026.
The automaker is setting its sights on an all-electric future. The automaker started 2022 with the announcement it would stop making internal-combustion engine vehicles by the end of the year to concentrate on a new line of EVs.
In Vietnam, VinFast has created an ecosystem of EV products including e-scooters, electric buses and electric cars, a charging station system and green energy solutions. Construction is underway on the first phase of a battery plant in Ha Tinh, Vietnam, with an initial capacity of 5 GWh per year when it hits full capacity in late 2022.
VinFast's Global Expansion
Vuong is also actively expanding VinFast to become a global automaker and pledged $2 billion of his own money to back the expansion.
To that end, VinFast has established global operations in the U.S. (headquartered in Los Angeles), Canada, Germany, France, and the Netherlands.