Tesla may have officially kicked off the electrification race and is now the largest producer of EVs in the world, but the California-based EV maker will have to contend with increasing competition soon. Specifically, carmakers from Southeast Asian countries such as China and Vietnam are poised to give Tesla and local automakers a run for their money in the coming years.
For example, Vinfast, a Vietnamese EV electric vehicle manufacturer that delivered its first batch of EVs late last year has announced that it will begin constructing an EV production plant this year. According to a statement from Vinfast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy, the factory will be built at Triangle Innovation Point in Chatham County and is expected to be up and running in the latter half of 2024.
The Vietnamese EV maker has already started work on the design and is racing to complete the factory’s construction plan. Vinfast’s initial investment in the factory will be as much as $2 billion, Thuy says. She states that the North Carolina production plant will be able to manufacture 150,000 electric cars every year as well as electric buses and EV batteries.
In a public statement, President Joseph Biden announced that the $4 billion plant would produce hundreds of thousands of electric cars and EV batteries and create more than 7,000 job opportunities. He lauded the move by Vinfast as an example of his economic strategy, which has put a great emphasis on promoting renewable energy and electric vehicles.
The North Carolina facility will be Vinfast’s second-ever EV factory after its first plant was built in Haiphong, a port city in Northern Vietnam. Vinfast also has a battery plant in Ha Tinh province in Northern Vietnam and plans on beginning production at the plant by the start of next year.
Vinfast’s first batch of EVs was delivered domestically to Vietnam, but the company expects to start delivering EVs in foreign markets, including Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States, later this year. The VF8 and VF9 will cost customers around $41,000 to $61,000. The Vietnamese EV maker aims to sell up to a million electric cars in the next five or six years, Thuy says, and the company has already received 50,000 orders from around the world for its VF8 and VF9 EV models.
Vinfast has also revealed that it is currently working with investment banks to get ready for an initial public offering (IPO). If it goes public, Vinfast will be one of the first companies from Vietnam to be traded on the U.S. stock market. The inroads being made by Vinfast puts other EV makers such as ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp. Ltd. (NASDAQ: SOLO) on notice that competition for every single motorist will be stiff, so they must bring their A game every single day.
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