Vietnamese electric vehicle (EV) maker VinFast will offer a more traditional purchase arrangement alongside its unusual battery lease plan, the automaker has clarified.
Last week, VinFast announced prices for its first two U.S. products, the 2023 VF 8 2-row midsize sport utility vehicle and VF 9 3-row midsize SUV. The pricing included an innovative twist – buyers would buy the car but pay a monthly lease fee for the battery.
Americans are accustomed to paying for their cars as a single payment. We traditionally own our cars, if not immediately, after we finish paying for them. So a battery lease plan seemed odd. But it came with a promise – VinFast would replace any battery that fell below 70% of its maximum capacity.
Now, a VinFast spokesman tells KBB, “VinFast’s battery subscription policy is applied to all EVs sold until the end of 2023. From 2024, we will offer both options: leasing the battery or buying it with the car,” he says. The company expects about half of buyers to opt for each choice.
VinFast is one of several startups attempting to sell EVs in the U.S. It faces unique challenges as the first Vietnamese automaker to try to crack the U.S. market. But it also has tools others lack, including very deep pockets. It’s the project of VinGroup, the largest conglomerate in Vietnam. The company operates in dozens of markets, from real estate to construction to cell phones.
It plans to offer a slate of five electric SUVs, ranging from subcompact to the 3-row VF 9. Buyers will get access to the car, a unique NFT, and a weeklong vacation at one of the company’s Vietnamese beach or golf resorts.