Vinfast is gearing up to start sales of its first electric vehicles in the U.S. by the end of the year, but the company is already looking ahead at its next generation of EVs.
The Vietnamese automaker on Wednesday announced a deal with Taiwanese battery technology startup ProLogium for the supply of solid-state batteries, a technology that promises more range, faster charge times, and improved safety compared to liquid-state batteries in use today.
The deal also includes an investment by Vinfast in ProLogium.
VinFast VF 8 Prototype
"ProLogium and Vinfast will together unveil smart electric vehicles powered by our market leading next-generation solid-state battery technologies," Vincent Yang, ProLogium's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "We are a major innovator in battery technology with already proven manufacturing capabilities and we aim to become a main driver for a sustainable world through high-performance, safe and affordable technologies.”
Vinfast and ProLogium plan to develop battery packs using ProLogium's solid-state batteries, the first of which are scheduled to be supplied to Vinfast in 2024. The batteries will be sourced from a plant ProLogium has under construction in Taiwan and which is scheduled to open in early 2023. The companies are also investigating establishing a joint venture for a battery plant in Vietnam. Vinfast already has its own battery plant in Vietnam, which the company constructed in 2021.
Vinfast, which plans an IPO in the U.S., in March announced plans to build a plant in Chatham County, North Carolina. The plant, which will be Vinfast's first outside of Vietnam, will be used for both EV and battery production.
VinFast VF 9 Prototype
The North Carolina plant is scheduled to open in 2024, with the first vehicles confirmed as the mid-size VF 8 and full-size VF 9 electric SUVs. The plant will also be used to build electric buses eventually.
The VF 8 and VF 9 will be the first Vinfasts on sale in the U.S., with the vehicles to initially be sourced from Vietnam. They are priced from $41,000 and $56,000, respectively, though owners will need to sign up for a battery subscription plan. The subscription plans, which are dependant on mileage, will start as low as $35 per month, topping out at $110 per month for the VF 8 and $160 per month for the VF 9 for owners looking for unlimited mileage.
Vinfast will initially focus on California, where the the first of 30 company-owned stores will open next week.