VinFast’s Confusing Battery Subscription and Vehicle Pricing Explained

This is the smaller VF 8 shown with the larger three-row VF 9 in the foreground.

VinFast

Start-up electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast has already promised to have vehicles on sale in the United States by the end of this year. The Vietnamese automaker is taking a unique approach to the market, however, by separating the cost of batteries and making them available only by subscription. That’s right, batteries are not included.

On the heels of its recent US factory announcementat Wednesday’s New York Auto Show, the automaker announced pricing for battery subscriptions for its 100% electric SUV VF 8 and VF 9, as well as prices for updated models. There are two battery pricing structures for both models, the flexible plan for more occasional drivers and an unlimited fixed plan for heavier users.

Why is VinFast doing this? Batteries are the biggest fixed cost of electric vehicles, and the company hopes that by separating the cost of the pack from the vehicle, customers will find the price of the company’s vehicles more attractive. Moreover, by taking responsibility for the battery, VinFast also hopes to avoid customer worries about pack degradation and maintenance costs.

VinFast VF 8 and VF Battery Subscription Pricing

This is where things get a little complicated. The monthly cost for the flexible plan is $35 for the smaller five-seat FV 8 and $44 for the three-row VF 9, which has a larger battery. This is the monthly rate for the first 310 kilometers of travel. From the 311th mile, the subscription fee is approximately 11 cents for VF 8 and 15 cents for VF 9 on a per mile basis. That means if a VF 8 owner drives an extra 300 miles in a month, they’ll spend an extra $33, or $68 for 610 miles in a single month. Similarly, a VF 9 user would spend an additional $45 or a total of $89 for 610 miles of driving in a month.

It seems safe to assume that VinFast’s unlimited range monthly landline plan will be more popular, as these plans are still reasonably priced at $110 for VF 8 and $160 for VF 9. Provided top-up is both accessible and fast, it is an interesting offer. , especially in a $4-a-gallon gas world.

That said, the stability and convenience of Vinfast’s charging network is a bit of a wild card. The just-announced official charging partner of the automaker is Electrify America, a company whose rapidly expanding network has been ringing in series for his inconsistent service. Additionally, the deal only provides that new VinFast owners receive two free charging sessions, much less than other automakers’ welcome offers that often include several months of free charging.

This subscription price is guaranteed for those who reserve and deposit a 2022 model year SUV, and interestingly, the lease is also transferable to the next owner, if the original buyer chooses to resell their vehicle. Additionally, the battery is backed by a lifetime warranty with no maintenance fees, and VinFast promises to replace the battery when the pack degrades below 70% usage.

This type of battery subscription/rental model has never been tried on a large scale in the US before. French Renault has had some success with a similar program for its Zoe EV, but it is unclear to what extent US consumers will be interested in this type of arrangement. It’s a bold bet.

Pricing VinFast VF 8 and VF 9

Of course, the cost of the battery subscription is added to the price of the vehicle itself. The automaker has also just released a pricing update for the 2022 VinFast VF 8 and VF 9. Both models are available in two trims, Eco and Plus, with different levels of standard equipment. Confusingly, the two models also have two different available battery capacities and resulting range estimates, albeit at oddly small price differences:

VF 8 Eco Version 1 battery (260 mile range): $40,700
VF 8 Eco Version 2 battery (292 mile range): $41,000
VF 8 Plus Version 1 battery (248 mile range): $47,700
VF 8 Plus Version 2 battery (277 mile range): $48,000

VF 9 Eco Battery Version 1 (279 mile range): $55,500
VF 9 Eco Version 2 battery (369 mile range): $56,000
VF 9 Plus Battery Version 1 (262 mile range): $60,500
VF 9 Plus Version 2 battery (360 mile range): $61,000

*To note: Final delivery costs for all models will be higher, as VinFast has not yet disclosed destination charges for the above models.

To emphasize the above, that means there’s a paltry $300 difference between VF 8 versions with significantly different ranges or $500 on the VF 9, where the range difference is up to 98 miles. Why on earth would anyone choose a version 1 battery of either model? Why would a car manufacturer bother to develop two different battery versions with such little difference in price?

If you’re considering buying a VinFast but the idea of ​​”batteries for rent” is turned down, the automaker says it will eventually allow the purchase of a battery with a vehicle in the future, like all other builders. The company plans to offer a 50/50 split between models with battery subscriptions and models with battery sales after the end of 2023.

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