VinFast’s confusing battery subscription and vehicle prices explained

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

VinFast

Startup EV manufacturer VinFast has already promised to have vehicles for sale in the US by the end of this year. However, the Vietnamese carmaker is taking a unique grip on the market by separating the cost of batteries and making them available exclusively through subscription. That’s right, batteries are not included.

In the heels of the latest announcement of the factory in the United Statesat Wednesday’s New York Auto Show, the automaker announced prices for battery subscriptions for its VF 8 and VF 9 all-electric SUVs, as well as updated model prices. There are two battery pricing structures for both models, the flexible plan for multiple occasional drivers and an unlimited fixed plan for heavier users.

Why does VinFast do this? Batteries are the single largest fixed cost in electric cars, and the company hopes that by separating the price of the package from the vehicle, customers will find the pricing of the company’s vehicles more attractive. In addition, by taking responsibility for the battery, VinFast also hopes to avert customers’ concerns about package deterioration and maintenance costs.

Prices for VinFast VF 8 and VF battery subscription

Here things get a little complicated. The monthly price for the flexible plan runs at $ 35 for the smaller, five-seater FV 8 and $ 44 for the three-row VF 9, which has a larger battery. That’s the monthly rate for the first 310 miles of the trip. From the 311st mile, the subscription fee is about 11 cents for VF 8 and 15 cents for VF 9 per. mile. This means that if a VF 8 owner drives an additional 300 miles in a month, they will spend an additional $ 33 or $ 68 for 610 miles in a single month. Similarly, a VF 9 user would spend an extra $ 45 or a total of $ 89 for 610 miles of driving in a month.

It seems safe to assume that VinFast’s monthly fixed plan with unlimited range will be more popular, as these packages are still reasonably priced at $ 110 for VF 8 and $ 160 for VF 9. Provided charging is both available and fast, it’s an attractive deal, especially in a world of $ 4-per-gallon gasoline.

That said, the stability and convenience of Vinfast’s charging network feels like a bit of a wildcard. The car manufacturer’s just announced official charging partner is Electrify America, a company whose fast-growing network has been serially destroyed for its inconsistent service. What’s more, the agreement is only about new VinFast owners receiving two free charging sessions – far less than other car manufacturers’ welcome spice, which often includes many months of free charging.

This subscription price is guaranteed for those who reserve and make a deposit for a 2022 model year SUV, and interestingly enough, the lease is also transferable to the next owner if the original buyer chooses to resell their vehicle. In addition, the battery has a lifetime warranty with no maintenance costs, and VinFast promises to replace the battery when the package deteriorates to less than 70% usability.

This type of battery subscription / leasing model has not been tested in the US on a large scale before. France’s Renault has found some success with a similar scheme for its Zoe EV, but it is still unclear how interested American consumers will be in this type of event. It’s a bold move.

VinFast VF 8 and VF 9 prices

The price of battery subscription is of course on top of the price of the vehicle itself. The carmaker has also just released updated prices on the 2022 VinFast VF 8 and VF 9. Both models come in two trim, Eco and Plus, with different standard equipment levels. Confusingly, both models also have two different available battery capacities and resulting range estimates, albeit at strangely minimal price differences:

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

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

*Note: The final delivery costs for all models will be higher, as VinFast has not yet announced destination fees for the above models.

To emphasize the above, this means that there is a measly $ 300 difference between VF 8-trim with significantly different ranges or $ 500 on VF 9, where the range difference can be up to 98 miles. Why in the world would anyone choose a battery version 1 of both models? Why should a car manufacturer bother to develop two different battery versions with such minimally different prices?

If you are considering buying a VinFast but the “batteries for rent” idea is an interruption, the carmaker says it will ultimately allow for the purchase of a battery with a vehicle in the future, just like any other manufacturer. The company expects to offer a 50/50 split between models with battery subscription and models with battery sales after the end of 2023.

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