VinFast Global CEO Clarifies the Plan Behind Its Battery Pack Subscription Strategy

Le Thi Thu Thuy talked to autoevolution about the company's battery pack subscription program 20 photos
Photo: VinFast
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VinFast is making everything possible to become a significant player in the electric vehicle market. Apart from building a new factory in the U.S., it hired Pininfarina to design its vehicles and presented an ambitious battery pack subscription. To clarify some doubts about it, autoevolution interviewed Le Thi Thu Thuy. The executive is the company’s global CEO and also the vice chairperson.
In this conversation, Thuy told us what VinFast thinks about battery pack swapping, how this subscription plan will evolve, and if the VinFast vehicles made in the U.S. will be eligible for the new federal tax credit or not. She suggested the Flexible plan is no longer available.

autoevolution – How much is VinFast's battery pack subscription fee in Europe? Does VinFast apply this rate to both Fixed and Flexible plans?

Le Thi Thu Thuy – We offer one battery subscription plan with a fixed monthly cost and unlimited mileage, making battery leasing policy simple and easy for customers. In Europe, the battery subscription fee for the VF 8 is 120 euros/month, and for the VF 9 is 150 euros/month.

ae – In the U.S., the battery pack subscription policy will only apply to customers who buy VinFast cars until the end of 2023. Does this apply to the European market?

Thuy – The innovative battery subscription program is VinFast’s way to show appreciation to our pioneer customers, who have trusted and accompanied us since the first days. As previously announced, the battery subscription policy will be applied to all EVs sold until the end of 2023. From 2024, only about 50% of EVs sold will be eligible for this policy. From September 1, 2022, VinFast officially offers two options for customers: lease batteries or buy batteries with cars. This policy is applied in all of our markets.

ae – When VinFast announced the subscription system in the U.S., it did not disclose how much less expensive the vehicle would be without buying the battery packs. Could you please clarify that both for the U.S. and the European market?
Thuy – VinFast has announced the starting price for both the battery subscription and battery purchase options, applicable from September 1, 2022 (read our article about that here).

ae – Why did VinFast decide to adopt the battery subscription model? Previously, Renault tested the same model in Europe and had to give it up after a few years.

Thuy – Our battery subscription policy is the key to universalizing electric vehicles to the mass market. With this policy, VinFast EVs will be at a price that most consumers can afford. The battery subscription policy will also eliminate the major concerns of customers about EVs, such as battery life, battery repair, replacement costs, etc. VinFast will bear all the costs and change the battery for free if the charging capacity dips below 70%, bringing peace of mind to customers. The policy also ensures that old batteries will be recovered and disposed of properly to minimize environmental impacts. We also offer the option of purchasing batteries with the vehicle to meet the diverse needs of our customers.

ae – If the battery subscription model is successful, will VinFast extend the availability period, or will it stop offering it after 2023?

Thuy – We are not ending the battery subscription policy from 2023. As previously announced, after 2023, only about 50% of EVs sold will be applied with the battery subscription policy because it is our appreciation to pioneering customers. However, from September 1, 2022, VinFast has offered customers two options: lease batteries or buy batteries with cars. We believe these options will meet the diverse needs of customers, making VinFast EVs more accessible.

ae – I feel that VinFast applies the battery subscription model to create trust in the product because VinFast is still a new name for many customers. Is this true, or does VinFast have another goal?

Thuy – VinFast's goal when offering the battery subscription policy is to help maintain reasonable pricing for our EVs, make them accessible to the majority of consumers, help them make the decision to switch to EVs easier, and thereby contribute to the global electric vehicle revolution.

ae – Will VinFast consider using swappable batteries in the future, or will it still only sell battery packs with the car?
Thuy – We have tested on a large scale with our e-scooters and realized that this is not the optimal solution for our customers, so in the future, we will only sell batteries with cars.

ae – As for selling cars with batteries, older carmakers selling electric vehicles, such as Tesla and Nissan, are currently facing the problem of replacing damaged battery packs. They usually charge more than $20,000 for them, which is often more than the value of the entire car. How did VinFast solve this problem?

Thuy – VinFast has given customers two flexible options when buying our cars: lease batteries or buy batteries with cars. With the battery subscription option, customers will not have to worry about maintenance, repair, and battery replacement costs when the charging capacity drops below 70%. Customers who are worried about battery replacement costs can choose to rent a battery for peace of mind during use.

ae – How does VinFast plan to deal with the new federal tax credit the Inflation Reduction Act created in the U.S.? Will its vehicles comply with it when they are made in that country?

Thuy – VinFast has offered the opportunity to convert reservations into a binding, non-refundable agreement, helping customers maintain their eligibility for a tax incentive of $7,500. This applies to customers who have made reservations from January 6, 2022, to the time the act was passed and completed signing a binding agreement with VinFast. If VinFast customers apply for a $7,500 federal tax credit under the applicable IRC 30D requirement and are denied by the IRS for reasons not attributable to the customer, VinFast will provide the customer with a $7,500 purchase price rebate (or similar rebate) on their VinFast vehicle purchase. VinFast models manufactured in the U.S. will meet the requirements of tax incentives.

ae – Does VinFast plan to have a European factory to eventually deal with similar demands as those made by the U.S. government, or will it bet on exporting to Europe from Vietnam?

Thuy – We are looking at location options to build a factory in Europe. More details will be announced at the appropriate time.

ae – The VF 8 and VF 9 seem to be very suitable for the US market, while European customers tend to prefer smaller-sized models with affordable prices. So, what products will VinFast bring to Europe?

Thuy – VinFast has introduced a complete electric vehicle product range: VF 5, VF 6, VF 7, VF 8, and VF 9 covering all segments: A, B, C, D, E. After the first two models – VF 8 and VF 9 – we will continue to introduce the remaining models on the global market in the near future. In particular, the C-segment VF 7 attracted a lot of attention from European customers when it was launched and has very promising potential in this market.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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