Official Vinfast VF8 topic

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Well-known member
Sep 19, 2011
East side of San Francisco Bay
Seemed like a good time to start a topic, as this is moving towards production and is scheduled to come here (not that I'd ever gamble tens of thousands on a car built by a start-up company with no track record, in a country with a similar lack of auto design and production experience, but in a couple of years, who knows). I'm also a big fan of battery leasing to reduce the purchase price and allow later upgrades, so that's another reason to start a topic, as AFAIA we haven't had a battery leasing option in the U.S. since Smart bailed on it.

Preview drive: 2023 Vinfast VF 8 has a long way to go, and a short time to get there

“So, how fast can I really go?” I ask the Vinfast handler sitting next to me in the passenger seat of the VF 8 prototype. I’ve been told before my first chance around the short test loop to keep it under 80 km/h (or right around 50 mph) but as I get ready for my second run I’ve seen a few other drivers zip by at much higher speeds.

Instead of a number, I am greeted by a shrug—so before he can change his mind we are off.

The first run was too conservative to give me definitive impressions, and I’ve traveled 18 hours to get here, so it’s time to cut it loose. This time on the straight I get the speedometer up to near 145 km/h (90 mph) and get a much better sense of the VF 8’s performance and braking—and some reassurance that this is more than a showpiece.

Likewise, the company is moving fast. The fact that the company has fully drivable prototypes after only introducing the vehicles about six months ago is laudable. But the company’s aggressive timeline for launching these vehicles—incredibly, this year—also means that despite that progress, there’s still a lot of work to be done to get them ready in a short period. . . .

Our short drive loop is on a course setup next to the Vinfast manufacturing facilities, and it only consists of two long straightaways, bookended by a wide U-turn at one end and a small chicane into a tight left turn at the other end. I took both runs in a red VF 8 prototype that Vinfast says was the most developed of the three vehicles available on the day, which all apparently came from different points in the VF 8’s development cycle. One of those models would encounter a braking issue and be removed from the rotation by the end of the day.

Each of the prototypes available to test were dual-motor all-wheel drive vehicles, and the model I tested was a Plus trim that is outfitted with more powerful motors that produce 402-hp and 457 lb-ft of torque, compared to 348 hp and 368 lb-ft in the Eco models. It was also outfitted with the smaller, standard range 82-kwh (usable) battery.

Vinfast estimates a 0-62 mph time of around 5.5 seconds for the Plus, and that feels accurate. It doesn’t offer the same super-snappy off-the-line acceleration you get in the Tesla Model Y, but it’s at least as quick as a dual-motor VW ID.4. The speed builds quickly enough and the VF-8 powers up to around 100 mph with relative ease. The throttle tuning is in need of a lot of refinement, at tip-in there isn’t enough responsiveness and on my first run when I just kept pushing the throttle down after the VF 8 didn’t move for a beat it lurched forward with a jerk that startled the same Vinfast employee in the passenger seat I’d ask later to exceed the posted speed limits. I raised a hand to apologize (my Vietnamese isn’t great) and he waved me off with a laugh, I’m guessing I wasn’t the first one that day to do that to him.

Vinfast engineers indicated that the vehicle will have more regenerative braking options down the line, including a one-pedal driving mode, but those were not ready at the time (even though I found those modes in the menus when I played with the screen more on a static prototype). The regeneration that was present on the prototype was very light and allowed for sustained gliding as an ICE vehicle would. Similar to the lack of throttle responsiveness, the brake pedal wasn’t responsive enough at the top of its travel and slowing down quickly and smoothly was difficult. With regen so light, it was impossible to get a feel for the brake-blending, that’s something we’ll have to get another look at later.

The road we drove on was perfectly maintained so it didn't provide an opportunity to see how the VF 8 will handle pavement imperfections, but on a good surface the SUV rode well and the cabin was well insulated from wind and tire noise. The suspension was sprung softly, with very noticeable body roll especially when exiting the chicane into the tighter turn, as the tires started to protest very quickly. Some added stiffness to the front springs would be very welcome.

Similar to the suspension, the steering also felt light, though it seemed to track well on center. There wasn’t much feedback to speak of but the brief time behind the wheel wasn’t quite enough to get a good sense of the car’s dynamic tune between the steering/suspension.

I poked around the interior of the prototype I tested, as well as a static version that Vinfast had available for photographs and to try out the infotainment system. Each had some of the usual caveats that we’d attach to hand-built prototypes with inconsistent panel gaps and materials, but the design of the interior seems to be finalized.

The VF 8 opts for a very simple dash setup that the VF 9 will use as well, with a 15.6-inch touchscreen serving as the main hub for everything. There is no instrument panel, but there is a standard head-up display so you don’t have to shift your head to look at the center screen to know your speed each time. This is somewhat similar to the Tesla Model 3 setup, but there are also more controls on the steering wheel to help control audio and safety features, like the adaptive cruise control (also standard).

Size-wise, the VF 8 is roughly the size of a Ford Mach-E but has a better backseat that feels more spacious. It has plenty of room inside for four adults, but the center passenger will have to contend with a floor hump for some reason. It’ll be hard to get a full gauge of interior quality until we get something closer to a production version and more time to see how the seats hold up on longer stints. The infotainment system at least felt a bit more complete, all of the functionality may not have been turned on but the screen was snappy and the screens were intuitive, if a bit too wordy (see the safety feature menus above).

Vinfast has announced preliminary pricing for the VF 8 and the VF 9, as well as how much the battery subscriptions required to purchase each vehicle will cost. A VF 8 Plus with the smaller battery pack will start at $47,700 (not including destination charges as those have yet to be finalized), though the larger battery version will only cost $48,000 so I don’t really see a reason at this time to go for the standard battery.

The company also doubled down on its plan to begin deliveries on both the VF 8 and VF 9 by the end of the year. That still feels ambitious for the VF 8 given how much more work it needs, let alone the VF 9, which we’ve yet to drive or even see a prototype with a complete interior.

Our next seat time in the VF 8 won't happen until this summer. If the team at Vinfast is able to improve these drivability and tuning issues markedly by then, it would be a big signal that the company’s aggressive timelines and plans for massive expansion could actually come true—if we momentarily wear our blinders about supply chains, manufacturing ramps, compliance, and delivery and support logistics. On top of that, there are also details that need to be worked out with the battery subscription program and the related liability with insurance companies.

This is a long list of to-dos even if the VF 8 felt more ready and we’ll be keeping an eye out on how Vinfast is able to navigate those issues, while waiting to get more time behind the wheel in June.

Vinfast US website:
They had some EVents that I indirectly learned about via spam posts on Vinfast on TMC. The spam (and the whole thread) got deleted but one of the replies pointed to an EVent in So Cal and another one at a large mall up here.

I watched bits of someone's video on the former ( and decided not to bother going.

I only have had time to skim the piece posted by the OP earlier today but had heard about the battery lease price: I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being a big flop in the US. Their vehicles aren't that cheap and to throw on a required battery lease fee I don't think will fly here, esp. from a totally unknown to the US automaker.
cwerdna said:
They had some EVents that I indirectly learned about via spam posts on Vinfast on TMC. The spam (and the whole thread) got deleted but one of the replies pointed to an EVent in So Cal and another one at a large mall up here.

I watched bits of someone's video on the former ( and decided not to bother going.

I only have had time to skim the piece posted by the OP earlier today but had heard about the battery lease price: I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being a big flop in the US. Their vehicles aren't that cheap and to throw on a required battery lease fee I don't think will fly here, esp. from a totally unknown to the US automaker.

Certainly a possibility. OTOH, when SMART offered battery leasing they had a 90+% take rate, at least initially - I never saw if that rate held up, i.e. did they just satisfy pent-up demand or did it sustain? These cars are a lot more expensive than the SMART sans battery, but then they're also a lot larger and more capable. The one thing I'd like to see change with battery leasing plans is that they provide the same guaranteed capacity throughout the lease, rather than some fraction of the initial capacity. This results in less range up front, but eliminates any need to worry about "will I be able to make this trip after x amount of time but before I hit the degradation limit?" Should make the battery last longer too.

To me, the main advantage of a battery lease (or swapping e.g. Nio) is the ability to change to a different capacity battery (for most people, bigger) as your needs change. This is primarily an issue for those of us who don't lease cars but buy and keep them for many years. As current batteries won't last anywhere near as long as the rest of the car (should), we shouldn't have to toss the whole car when the battery needs replacement. Leasing gives the manufacturer an incentive to provide those better batteries, instead of hoping you'll junk the car and replace it with a new one.
I can't speak to Smart's battery leasing program in the US but none of their vehicles (ICE nor EV) sold in large numbers in the US and before going away:

VinFast Is Going All-Electric, and Worldwide, at Full Speed
We get a whirlwind tour, and a tiny test drive, of the Vietnamese startup automaker’s first global EV offering
cwerdna said:
I can't speak to Smart's battery leasing program in the US but none of their vehicles (ICE nor EV) sold in large numbers in the US and before going away:

Uh huh, because very few American car buyers wanted a car that only met say 85% of their usage, even if they were ideal for that.

cwerdna said:
VinFast Is Going All-Electric, and Worldwide, at Full Speed
We get a whirlwind tour, and a tiny test drive, of the Vietnamese startup automaker’s first global EV offering
First US-bound VinFast EVs shipped for December delivery

. . . The shipment of 999 EVs departed Hai Phong, Vietnam, Nov. 25 for what is scheduled to be a 20-day voyage to California, where they'll be offloaded and sent to customers, according to a company press release. Following delivery of the first batch of U.S.-market cars, VinFast plans to start deliveries of the VF 8 in Canada in Europe in early 2023.

The VF 8 will be followed to market by the larger VF 9, which will begin deliveries in Vietnam and other markets in the first quarter of 2023, VinFast said, confirming a delayed timeline first hinted at in September, when the first 100 VF 8 electric SUVs were handed over to customers in the automaker's home market.

In the same release, VinFast noted that it signed a deal with subscription service Autonomy at the 2022 Los Angeles auto show for 2,500 VF 8 and VF 9 models, but didn't specify whether any cars from the initial shipment would go toward that order. Earlier this year, Autonomy announced the fleet purchase of 23,000 EVs that it will then offer to customers on a subscription basis, and VinFast is one of the 17 automakers with vehicles included in the deal.

The VF 8 is 187.0 inches long, 76.1 inches wide, and 65.6 inches tall. It launches in Eco and Plus forms, both with dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrains. The Eco version makes 349 hp and about 369 lb-ft of torque, while the Plus version makes 402 hp and about 457 lb-ft. Based on the European/global WLTP cycle, VinFast claims a range of up to 260 miles for the Eco and up to 248 miles for the Plus.

As with Vietnamese-market models, VinFast is expected to offer a number of driver-assist features in the U.S., including adaptive cruise control, active lane control, automated parking, and a summon feature. VinFast also has a bundle of Smart Services, encompassing an app and features like voice recognition, and in-car online shopping and video games.

VinFast's timeline in the U.S. has indeed been very fast. It established its U.S. headquarters just last November, and that same month displayed early prototypes of the VF 8 and VF 9—then named VF e35 and VF e36, respectively. A prototype drive showed the VF 8 had a long way to go, but the company has continued moving fast, spooling up production and opening its first U.S. retail stores in California in July. VinFast has said it will expand its retail footprint to other states in the future.

While initial deliveries for the U.S. are being sourced from Vietnam, VinFast is planning a factory in North Carolina to build U.S.-market VF 8 and VF 9 EVs starting in 2024. The company received $1.2 billion in incentives for the factory, which it claims is the largest economic incentive package ever from North Carolina.

In addition to the VF 8 and VF 9, VinFast said it will soon start reservations for smaller VF 5, VF 6, and VF 7 electric crossover models. A collaboration with Chinese battery supplier CATL may mean more EVs for emerging markets as well.

The VF8's too big for my needs but the 5, 6,or 7 may work, and I'm glad to see they've got the subscription service going. The VF8's also lacking in range for most US customers if they can only get 260 miles on WLTP, which will be considerably less EPA. Still, it's amazing that they've managed to come so far, so fast, and I look forward to reviews from car mags and CR.
Found this CR report on the VF6 & 7. Do we need to start one or two new topics now, or wait until more details have been released and/or they're closer to being available here?

VinFast VF 6 and VF 7 Electric SUVs Unveiled at LA Auto Show
These electric vehicles will join the VF 8 and VF 9 in the automaker's U.S. market offerings

VinFast—the Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer that made its debut at the New York auto show earlier this year—unveiled two new small SUV models the company says are bound for U.S. shores in the not-too-distant future. The VF 6 and VF 7 will join the larger VF 8 and VF 9 models, which VinFast says it will begin delivery of in the U.S. by the end of 2022.

The VF 6 is roughly the same size as subcompact SUVs like the Honda HR-V, while the VF 7 is similar in size to the Mazda CX-5. As with the larger models introduced in New York, the VF 6 and VF 7 will come in Eco and Plus trims, and will be available with either a standard- or long-range battery pack. And like the other models, customers will have the option to pay a monthly subscription fee for the batteries, which includes free replacement as capacity degrades. It’s a unique setup, but with other manufacturers like BMW offering subscription-based features, it may be one that becomes more common in the years ahead.

Customers also have the option to purchase batteries, but if the add-on price shown on the VinFast website is any indication (a battery is $14,800 extra for the VF 8 and $18,500 for the VF 9), the cost will be somewhere in the neighborhood of the price of a decent used gasoline-powered car. . . .

Powertrain: VF 6: 174 hp or 201 hp from one electric motor; one-speed direct drive; front-wheel drive. VF 7: 201 hp or 349 hp from one or two electric motors; one-speed direct drive; front- or all-wheel-drive.

Prices: $30,000-$45,000, estimated.

On sale: 2024, estimated.

CR's Take . . . .

The automaker initially rolled out a pair of battery subscription plans aimed at tailoring to an individual motorist’s needs. As of now, there is only one battery plan available. The cheaper of the two, the so-called Flexible Plan, which VinFast said was designed for motorists with low-mileage driving requirements, has been nixed. The Fixed plan, which offers unlimited mileage, costs $169 per month for the VF 8 and $219 per month for the VF 9. Battery subscription and purchase details have not yet been shared for the VF 6 or VF 7.

VinFast’s battery subscription provides a lifetime battery warranty covering all maintenance and repair costs. As part of it, the manufacturer will replace the battery free when charging capacity dips below 70 percent. This should reduce some concerns among shoppers wary of EV battery reliability. As with the VF 8 and VF 9, the VF 6 and VF 7 will come with a 10-year, 125,000-mile (whichever comes first) factory warranty. The batteries will have their own warranty coverage, depending on the plan.

The automaker also forged a partnership with Electrify America earlier this year that will allow customers to begin charging as soon as they plug into an Electrify America network EV charger. Payment will be handled through the VinFast Plug & Charge app, which the automaker says will process payments securely without having to swipe a credit card or juggle other apps. . . .


In keeping with the interior styling on many current EVs, VinFast’s SUVs have a sparse interior, with a dash centered around a large central touchscreen. There is a head-up display in front of the driver, but like the Tesla Model Y, there is no gauge display behind the steering wheel. The Eco trim on both models comes with a steel roof, while Plus trim comes with a panoramic glass roof.

Also light on ornament was the level of detail VinFast provided about what will be offered in its smaller models. VinFast also hasn’t yet specified cargo volume numbers for either model, or whether Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be available.

What Drives It

The smaller VF 6 will be available only in front-wheel-drive configuration, while the Plus trim on the VF 7 will come with a two-motor all-wheel-drive system. The power level will also vary. The VF 6 Eco will have 174 hp of output, while the higher-end Plus trim will put out 201 hp. The VF 7 Eco picks up with the 201-hp front-wheel-drive configuration from the VF 6 Plus, while the VF 7 Plus comes with a 349-hp all-wheel-drive system.

VinFast has not yet released projected range numbers or charging details for either the VF 6 or the VF 7.

Active Safety and Driver Assistance Features

VinFast says the VF 6 and VF 7 will “include a full suite of active and passive safety features.” No further details were shared, but the automaker says the safety equipment on the VF 8 and VF 9 will include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance, lane changing assistance, and driver monitoring to make sure the driver is alert while hands-free driver aids are in use.