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VinFast Will Make Its Electric Cars in North Carolina, Create 7,500 Jobs There

VinFast may not be a famous carmaker right now, but there is plenty of interesting news related to it. The company invested in StoreDot, a battery startup with bold promises and little evidence of progress. It also hired Michael Lohscheller and lost him in less than five months. None of that will drive more attention to the Vietnamese carmaker than announcing it will make cars in the U.S. – more specifically, in North Carolina.
VinFast VF33, also known as e36 or VF 9 28 photos
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A press conference at the new Raleigh Convention Center announced the $2-billion investment the company plans to make in Chatham county. That’s just for phase one, where VinFast intends to produce 150,000 EVs per year, among electric SUVs and buses.

Most of that production will be dedicated to the VF 8 and VF 9, respectively, five-seater and seven-seater SUVs. The VF 8 is also known as VF32 of VF e35, while the VF 9 is also called VF33 or e36. We have no idea why VinFast has so many different names for its vehicles, both designed by Pininfarina.  it will no longer be necessary if all its cars are going to be electric. The company also changed the numbers completely. Go figure...

The factory will be built on a terrain of 1,977 acres (8 million square meters) starting in 2022. It is expected to start production in July 2024. When all phases are concluded, VinFast expects to employ 7,500 people in North Carolina’s first car factory.

Apart from vehicles, the Vietnamese company will also manufacture EV batteries and “ancillary industries for suppliers.” We suppose it means that the site will also house suppliers for the vehicles. That seems necessary for a state with no tradition related to the automotive industry.

It would be interesting to learn if the factory was a plan started by Michael Lohscheller or if the idea was presented and approved after he left. Considering how much time these decisions demand to be taken, it seems Lohscheller started it and did not have time to show his efforts.

Don’t expect the VF 8 and VF 9 to only start sales in the U.S. by 2024. It is not unlikely that VinFast will begin selling them in the American market as soon as it can export them from Vietnam. That said, local production should replace imports when it kicks off. That’s precisely what Volkswagen is doing now with the ID.4.

The VF 8 has a 106-kWh battery pack. That means that VinFast will have to produce at least 16 GWh in batteries to cope with manufacturing 150,000 EVs per year. Bear in mind that it will also make electric buses, which present much larger battery packs. It would be safe to say that VinFast has to ensure a supply of at least 20 GWh to make that many electric vehicles.

Apart from BYD, all the other companies need cell manufacturers to get their battery packs. VinFast has not disclosed if it has any partnership with LGES, SK Innovation, or another one of these cell suppliers for its North Carolina plant.

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