Vietnamese electric cars VinFast debuted in the US
The most unexpected participant of the Los Angeles Auto Show is the Vietnamese company VinFast. The one that loudly declared itself three years ago with modernized and simplified BMW cars. But the Vietnamese appeared in the US with completely different cars and with Napoleonic plans.
VinFast is part of Vietnam’s largest company, VinGroup, founded by businessman Pham Nyat Vuong, now the richest man in the country. From the very beginning, he promised to bring the VinFast brand to the global market and is steadily moving towards this goal. An engineering center in Germany and a test site in Australia have already been opened (this is the former complex of the closed Holden company). Last summer, former Opel boss Michael Lohscheller became head of the automotive division, after which sales in Europe were announced imminently, with Germany, France and the Netherlands as the first markets in the first half of 2022.
The US debut turned out to be even louder: VinFast opened a new office in Los Angeles. The required investment of $20.5 million was provided by the California government and it has 400 employees at any one time. So many workers are needed to complete the next phase: building their own plant in California, which will cost $200 million. Sales in the US and Canada are slated to begin in late 2022, but initially these will be Vietnamese-made vehicles. Which?
The exhibition hosted the world premiere of two cars announced earlier this year (although the figures are now somehow different). These are electric vehicles built on their own modular platform, designed by the Pininfarina studio. The first model VF e35 (formerly VF32) is a mid-size crossover with a length of 4750 mm, which distinguishes the Tesla Model Y. It has a five-door body with two rows of seats and a traction battery with a capacity of approx. 90 kWh, enough for 400 km. The basic version with an engine of 204 hp and 320 Nm, the twin-engine all-wheel drive modification has double the power: 408 hp and 640 Nm.
The second model is a full-size crossover VF e36 (formerly VF33) with a length of 5120 mm with three rows of seats. Such an electric car is offered only in a twin-engine all-wheel drive version with a capacity of 408 hp, and a traction battery with a capacity of 106 kW ∙ h should be enough for 560 km. Initially, VinFast also announced petrol versions, but they are not considered for export markets: only electric vehicles! Both new models have a unified interior: there is no familiar instrument cluster, and a large 15.4-inch central display is responsible for everything. Also announced is an autopilot with a lidar and a series of cameras, and the third level.
In their native Vietnam, these cars will begin to be produced in February: VinFast has a modern plant here with a capacity of 500,000 cars a year, which at first is enough for a head. The traction batteries will be produced locally in cooperation with LG Chem. More details about these electric vehicles should then emerge.