This is not how you attract customers in a new market.
Automakers are continually finding new approaches to entice customers to buy electric vehicles. Among the most appealing ways we've seen, several companies have partnered with the Electrify America network to offer complimentary charging for new owners and lessees. Kia, for example, offers two years of 30-minute charging sessions while Audi offers an attractive three years of free juice.
For a company that's just arriving in the US market like VinFast, we'd expect a similar (or better) deal to attract shoppers away from more established EVs like the Tesla Model Y or Kia EV6. VinFast is the 16th company to offer a deal with Electrify America, but it's far less appealing than some of its more well-known rivals.
Buyers of the all-electric 2022 VinFast VF 8 and VF 9 models will receive two free sessions of 60-kilowatt-hour charging plus reduced pricing for Electrify America membership. In case you think we typed it wrong, that's not two free years of charging, that's two sessions. Yeah, seriously. We still don't have final US battery specs for the VF 8 or VF 9, but we estimate those two 60kWh sessions won't even cover two full 0-80% charges. It's essentially like a traditional dealership giving you a free tank of gas. That's far less than you'll get from pretty much any other EV with an Electrify America partnership.
VinFast hasn't mentioned the peak charging speeds for either model, so we must wait to see if they can take full advantage of Electrify America's 350kW peak DC charging ability. On the positive side of this news, the VF 8 and VF 9 can tap into the charging network's Plug&Charge, which automatically pays once the car is plugged in.
The charging deal may be lackluster, but at least the two VinFast models offer value elsewhere. VinFast will charge $40,700 for the base VF 8 and $7,000 more for the VF 8 Plus. That's cheaper than rivals like the Ford Mustang Mach-E. The larger VF 9 will cost $55,500 while $60,500 is the base MSRP for the VF 9 Plus. Oddly, VinFast will only sell you the car itself without specifically billing you for a battery, then charge a monthly battery subscription fee. The company will then replace the battery when the charging capacity dips below 70%. This is a business model that's never been attempted in the US, and we are curious (if not skeptical) to see how it works out.