At the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday, Vietnamese automaker VinFast revealed battery subscription prices for the two electric SUVs it aims to sell in the US market by the end of the year.
The company, which recently invested $2 billion to build its first US plant in North Carolina, also announced a partnership with Electrify America that will give customers access to a nationwide fast-charging network. VinFast hinted at other similar partnerships that will be revealed in the future.
VinFast’s battery rental model is to sell its vehicles – the VF 8, a 5-passenger midsize SUV, and the VF 9, a 7-passenger SUV – without the battery included in the price. Customers can instead lease the battery for a monthly fee that will be based on the number of miles they travel. This model could help make its vehicles more accessible, the company argues.
It also has the potential to extend the life cycle of the vehicle itself. Taiwanese company Gogoro, which recently went public via a special-purpose acquisition merger, popularized its electric motorcycle and moped battery swapping ecosystem in Taiwan largely due to the ease of battery swapping. a battery rather than waiting for it to recharge. However, batteries are often the first components in a vehicle to die, so just being able to replace them, rather than the entire car, can keep vehicles on the road longer.
However, it’s unclear whether adding this layer to the VinFast equation will make the whole process even more confusing for EV buyers, especially if they’re in an area where it’s hard to find. ‘swap a battery, though VinFast plans to open at least 60 stores across the US
The scheme is made potentially more complicated as VinFast says that by the end of 2023, 50% of the battery will be for rent while the rest is for sale with the purchase of the car. VinFast did not respond in time to requests for clarification.
The VF 8 will cost between $40,700 and $48,000 depending on version and battery, the company announced Wednesday, updating previous numbers shared at CES in January. The battery of the VF 8 Eco version can go up to 292 miles on a full charge and the Plus version can go up to 277 miles.
The VF 9 has a price range of $55,500 to $61,000. The Eco version of its battery has a maximum range of 369 miles, and the Plus version can go up to 360 miles, VinFast said.
It is not yet clear whether vehicle prices will be different if a customer chooses to go the battery leasing route.
VinFast offers a flexible plan of $35 per month for the VF 8 and $44 for the VF 9 for drivers who can stick to 310 miles of usage each month. Exceeding 310 miles will incur charges of $0.11 and $0.15 per additional mile for VF 8 and VF 9 respectively.
According to data from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, the average person drives more than 1,000 miles per month.
So, for the average US driver, the fixed rental plan might be a better option. For $110 per month and $160 per month for VF 8 and VF 9, respectively, customers can have unlimited miles. VinFast is currently freezing the fixed plan’s monthly cost over the life of the vehicle to encourage new orders, the company said.
“By separating the price of the battery from the acquisition value of the automobile, VinFast assumes all the risks associated with the vehicle’s battery and ensures a reasonable price for its products, while reassuring customers about the quality of the battery. when using it,” the company said in a statement.
VinFast said it will provide a lifetime battery warranty that covers all battery maintenance and repair costs, and replaces the battery for free when the charge capacity drops below 70%.
At the Auto Show, VinFast also activated its VinFirst NFT exchange on Open Sea. The automaker is using blockchain technology to register orders and confirm ownership under a global reservation program that began in January. When customers pay a deposit for their reservation, they receive an NFT on the VinFast platform.