Update: ‘Interior,’ ‘Specifications,’ and ‘VinFast VF 9 Release Date’ sections updated and ‘Price’ section added.
Vietnamese automaker VinFast plans to leverage the world’s transition to EVs to become a global brand. The company will enter western markets with new electric vehicles, including a three-row electric SUV called VinFast VF 9 (formerly VinFast VF e36).
Originally, VinFast had introduced the VF 9 as the VF33 in January 2021. When the company showcased it at the 2021 LA Auto Show in November 2021, it had changed the model’s name to VF e36. VF 9 is the full-size crossover SUV’s third and hopefully the final name.
The VinFast VF 9 is a conventionally designed, wide-shouldered SUV that could appeal to American full-size SUV customers. VinFast collaborated with legendary Italian design house Pininfarina in making the design.
The strong and masculine exterior’s highlight is its wraparound glass that provides a seamless transition from the profile to the rear. Along with the sleek windows lying on the same horizontal axis, it forms an interesting X-shaped motif on the sides and enhances the SUV’s sophisticated exterior.
The interior of the VinFast VF 9 is clean and minimalist, making the least possible usage of physical controls. A large landscape central display that measures 15.6 inches diagonally is the focal point of the cabin. The designers have kept physical buttons to the bare minimum.
First-time EV buyers might have a hard time adjusting because of the omission of an instrument cluster. A full-color heads-up display (HUD) is part of the new-age cockpit, though. Relying on the HUD for the primary driving information could be a difficult adjustment initially, but it could lead to significantly reduced distraction compared to driving a vehicle with an instrument cluster, particularly a fancy fully-digital display.
Configurations & materials
Quilted leather upholstery, brushed aluminum panels, open-pore wood inserts, and mood lighting would help set an upscale ambiance. The VF 9 is a three-row SUV and will be available in 6- and 7-seat versions. The 6-seat version will come with captain seats featuring massage function in the second row.
VinFast is considering using eco-friendly materials like eco-leatherette for the interior of its vehicles. In the future, the VF 9 could boast such extra sustainability measures in addition to a 100% electric powertrain.
VinFast has partnered with Amazon to integrate Amazon Alexa services into the VF 9 (and also VF 8). Customers will be able to ask Alexa and conveniently control functions like music playback, cabin temperature adjustment, seat heating, getting directions, checking traffic, and managing smart home devices. Alexa will even help find a parking spot. OTA updates will keep bringing new and improved capabilities for Alexa.
The VF 9 will be the flagship model in the VinFast line-up. The company plans to build it in high quality to meet the high standards of safety agencies in North America and Europe. It is targeting a 5-star safety rating from NHTSA and Euro NCAP. The company has equipped its flagship SUV with 11 airbags and ADAS features like Remote parking, Traffic jam assist, Automatic lane changing assist, Highway assist, and more.
Due to its large dimensions and batteries, the Vinfast VF 9 could be quite heavy and thus require a high-performance powertrain. VinFast plans to fit two motors that generate 300 kW (402 hp) of total power and 472 lb.-ft. of total torque in the VF 9. 6.3 seconds is the 0-60 mph sprint time.
Initially, reports suggested that a 106 kWh battery pack will be standard in the VF 9. VinFast later confirmed that there will be two battery pack options. The standard-range battery pack will offer a range of 272 miles in an ‘Eco’ version and 262 miles in a ‘Plus’ version. The extended-range battery pack will allow traveling up to 369 miles in the Eco, and up to 360 miles in the Plus.
VinFast has a tie-up with Electrify America for the charging of its EVs in the U.S. The company says that its U.S. customers will get two years of complimentary charging sessions at what happens to be America’s largest open ultra-fast charging network. There are 800 Electrify America charging stations, with about 3,500 individual chargers available to use or with construction completed. These chargers offer charging at 150 kW and even at 350 kW.
VinFast will import EVs initially, but it doesn’t see that as a long-term strategy. The company plans to build the VF 9 alongside the 5-seat VF-8 at a new U.S. plant located in North Carolina from 2024.
VinFast will establish its American factory in Chatham County’s Triangle Innovation Point mega-site. Spread across 800 hectares, this production site will facilitate electric car and bus production and assembly, EV battery production, and ancillary industries for suppliers. Construction will begin later this year, and then production may start in July 2024. The company expects to have an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles in the first phase.
VinFast VF 9 Release Date
VinFast has confirmed the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, and the Netherlands as its first overseas markets in the West. The company plans to launch the VF 9 in the U.S. in the second half of the year and may begin deliveries in the fourth quarter.
Source: Youtube/Redline Reviews
The Vinfast VF 9 Eco costs USD 55,500 with the standard-range battery pack and USD 56,000 with the extended-range battery pack. The Vinfast VF 9 Plus is priced at USD 60,500 with the standard-range battery pack and USD 61,000 with the extended-range battery pack.
Alternatively, VinFast offers two battery subscription plans for the VF 9: Flexible and Fixed. The Flexible plan costs USD 44/month and allows traveling 310 miles, with further usage (from 311 miles) costing about USD 0.15/mile. The Fixed plan allows unlimited mile usage and costs USD 160/month. Customers going for this plan this year will be safe from any price hikes for a lifetime.
VinFast is looking for investors to fund its electrification and global expansion. Three people in the know of developments at the company told Reuters last year that the company is in talks with Qatar Investment Authority (Qatar’s sovereign fund) and BlackRock among others to raise approximately USD 1 billion in equity. Former CEO Lohscheller had said in the interview that VinFast may launch an IPO in the U.S. in the next one or two years, Reuters reported in November 2021.
Featured Image Source: VinFast