If you’re into electric vehicles, and/or reside in North Carolina, then you may already be familiar with VinFast. Based in Vietnam, the EV maker has already made its global aspirations very clear—with specific plans for expansion in the U.S.
Its American headquarters are located in Los Angeles, but it’s building a major manufacturing facility in Chatham County, North Carolina. According to company estimates, this location will create 7,500 new jobs in the area, with average salaries over $51,000 a year.
Unlike many young EV companies (or really any young EV companies), VinFast makes both two- and four-wheeled electric vehicles. Here in the back half of July, 2022, its major focus is on two pre-production SUV models, the VF8 and VF9—both of which are coming to (and will be built in) the U.S.
Now, electric vehicle fans may already know all of this. What you may not know, however, is that as of July 26, 2022, VinFast also plans to bring its electric scooters to the American market. Furthermore, it won’t simply be importing them into the country from its Hai Phong HQ. Instead, the scooters, much like the SUVs, are planned to be built at the North Carolina factory—which, if all goes according to plan, will start its U.S. production line in July, 2024.
VinFast currently builds four electric scooter models in Vietnam: the Feliz S, the Klara S, the Vento S, and the Theon S. We don’t yet know which of these it plans to bring here—although, having ridden them all (which I’ll write about in a separate piece), the Theon S seems to be a pretty safe bet. The company is passionate about electric mobility for a wide range of people, though, so we’ll have to see what shakes out.
What about the dealership network, you may wonder? On the car side, while VinFast is starting with a direct-to-consumer model, it also has plans to roll out several brick-and-mortar dealerships in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, they’ll roll out first across California, then appear in additional states as well. Full details, we’ve told, will be available at a later date.
A company representative told me that the scooters will, at a minimum, be available in VinFast dealerships. Now, it’s not clear at this point if they’ll also be available by other means, but we expect that information will crystallize as and when it gets closer to production and U.S. launch.
To add additional intrigue for all fans of two-wheelers, VinFast global CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy told this reporter that scooters aren’t the only electric two-wheelers in the company’s crystal ball. While Madame Thuy didn’t want to let too much out of the bag, she told me that VinFast is currently planning an important two-wheeled unveiling at EICMA 2022.
Will there be full-fledged motorcycles? E-bikes? Both? It’s the end of July, 2022—and there are several months to go before EICMA in November. So, it’s quite understandable that the company doesn’t want to give too much away before the curtain is actually scheduled to drop. Madame Thuy also said that the company will bring its electric scooters to other markets outside Vietnam. Since EICMA is a global show, it’s reasonable to infer that whatever is revealed there will likely make it into multiple markets, as well.