Here’s Why Vietnamese Automaker VinFast Wants To Build Cars In The U.S.

Tesla and the other automakers selling electric cars in the U.S. are about to get some competition from an unexpected place. The VinFast VF 9 will be on sale in California later this year. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Vietnam-based VinFast will begin exporting a lineup of all-electric SUVs to California later this year, but its American market plans are even more ambitious.

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VinFast was founded in 2017 by Vietnam’s first-ever billionaire, entrepreneur Pham Nhat Vuong, whose fortune began with an instant noodle company he launched while living in Ukraine in the 1990s. The automaker started out making internal combustion engine vehicles but has since shifted to EVs.

Workers assemble an electric car at the VinFast electric automobile plant in Haiphong April 7, 2022.  (Nhac Nguyen/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

“We see the demand and request for EVs booming everywhere in the world,” Emmanuel Bret, VinFast’s deputy CEO of global sales and marketing told FOX Business in an exclusive interview.

Bret said the company will have 30 stores up and running by the end of the year in California and then expand nationwide as it builds the brand.

Part of its plan includes a $2 billion factory it has entered a memorandum of understanding to build at the Chatham County Triangle Innovation Point outside Raleigh, North Carolina, that will be funded with the help of an initial public offering it has filed for.

Bret explained that the company’s belief is that it’s better to be close to the customer and that the project proves how serious it is.

“We are in the U.S. for a long, long, long time, so we want to really show this,” Bret said. VinFast won’t be selling cars the old-fashioned way, however. The initial strategy is to sell and lease vehicles without battery packs, which will be leased separately.

“This is the only way to go for the future,” Bret said.

The idea is that it will create an entirely circular system that will allow it to fully recycle the materials into new batteries, which it hopes will reduce manufacturing and ownership costs.

“We will offer premium quality for everyone at a reasonable price compared to the size and quality of the car,” Bret added.

The first models that will be offered are the VF 8 and VF 9 SUVs, which will have starting prices of $40,700 and $55,500, respectively. The two-row and three-row vehicles were designed by Italy’s famed Pininfarina and engineered with the help of a number of major automotive industry suppliers, including Germany’s ZF.

The two-row VF 8 compact will also be on sale in California this year. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Pricing for the battery lease is set at $35-$44 monthly with 310 miles driving allowed and $110-$160 monthly for an unlimited plan, but charging is not included beyond two complimentary fill-ups on the Electrify America network.

If the battery pack degrades to under 70% capacity or has any issues it will be replaced for free and recycled. VinFast said it may consider selling cars with batteries included in the future, but that it will focus on the subscription model for at least five years.

 

 

Source: Here’s why Vietnamese automaker VinFast wants to build cars in the U.S. | Fox Business.

Critics:

VinFast says prices for its VF8 SUV start at 41 thousand dollars in the U.S., versus about 63 thousand dollars for a Tesla SUV. A source familiar with the matter said VinFast would probably look to raise about $2 billion U.S. dollars from a listing. However the company said the size and price range of an IPO had not been determined.

VinFast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy spoke to reporters on Thursday: “We still, we still have so many options to look at. So it’s not definite that we are going to do (an) IPO still considering a lot of options, so is one of the options.”

She said the IPO was planned for the second half of this year as one option to fund a plant planned in North Carolina and U.S. expansion. The company plans to transition to all-electric vehicle production in late 2022. Outside North America, VinFast is looking for a plant in Germany, it said in January.

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Tesla and the other automakers selling electric cars in the U.S. are about to get some competition from an unexpected place. The VinFast VF 9 will be on sale in California later this year. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Vietnam-based VinFast will begin exporting a lineup of all-electric SUVs to California later this year, but its American market plans are even more ambitious.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSLA TESLA INC. 985.00 -37.37 -3.66%
GM GENERAL MOTORS CO. 40.13 -0.09 -0.22%
F FORD MOTOR CO. 15.48 -0.03 -0.19%
TM TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. 167.26 -1.18 -0.70%

VinFast was founded in 2017 by Vietnam’s first-ever billionaire, entrepreneur Pham Nhat Vuong, whose fortune began with an instant noodle company he launched while living in Ukraine in the 1990s. The automaker started out making internal combustion engine vehicles but has since shifted to EVs.

Workers assemble an electric car at the VinFast electric automobile plant in Haiphong April 7, 2022.  (Nhac Nguyen/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

“We see the demand and request for EVs booming everywhere in the world,” Emmanuel Bret, VinFast’s deputy CEO of global sales and marketing told FOX Business in an exclusive interview.

Bret said the company will have 30 stores up and running by the end of the year in California and then expand nationwide as it builds the brand.

Part of its plan includes a $2 billion factory it has entered a memorandum of understanding to build at the Chatham County Triangle Innovation Point outside Raleigh, North Carolina, that will be funded with the help of an initial public offering it has filed for.

Bret explained that the company’s belief is that it’s better to be close to the customer and that the project proves how serious it is.

“We are in the U.S. for a long, long, long time, so we want to really show this,” Bret said. VinFast won’t be selling cars the old-fashioned way, however. The initial strategy is to sell and lease vehicles without battery packs, which will be leased separately.

“This is the only way to go for the future,” Bret said.

The idea is that it will create an entirely circular system that will allow it to fully recycle the materials into new batteries, which it hopes will reduce manufacturing and ownership costs.

“We will offer premium quality for everyone at a reasonable price compared to the size and quality of the car,” Bret added.

The first models that will be offered are the VF 8 and VF 9 SUVs, which will have starting prices of $40,700 and $55,500, respectively. The two-row and three-row vehicles were designed by Italy’s famed Pininfarina and engineered with the help of a number of major automotive industry suppliers, including Germany’s ZF.

The two-row VF 8 compact will also be on sale in California this year. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Pricing for the battery lease is set at $35-$44 monthly with 310 miles driving allowed and $110-$160 monthly for an unlimited plan, but charging is not included beyond two complimentary fill-ups on the Electrify America network.

If the battery pack degrades to under 70% capacity or has any issues it will be replaced for free and recycled. VinFast said it may consider selling cars with batteries included in the future, but that it will focus on the subscription model for at least five years.

 

 

Source: Here’s why Vietnamese automaker VinFast wants to build cars in the U.S. | Fox Business.

Critics:

VinFast says prices for its VF8 SUV start at 41 thousand dollars in the U.S., versus about 63 thousand dollars for a Tesla SUV. A source familiar with the matter said VinFast would probably look to raise about $2 billion U.S. dollars from a listing. However the company said the size and price range of an IPO had not been determined.

VinFast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy spoke to reporters on Thursday: “We still, we still have so many options to look at. So it’s not definite that we are going to do (an) IPO still considering a lot of options, so is one of the options.”

She said the IPO was planned for the second half of this year as one option to fund a plant planned in North Carolina and U.S. expansion. The company plans to transition to all-electric vehicle production in late 2022. Outside North America, VinFast is looking for a plant in Germany, it said in January.

.

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European Electric Car Sales Growth Will Slow Before Spurting, While China Lurks

Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are exploding in Western Europe, but growth will slow over the next couple of years, restrained by the semiconductor shortage, and actions by manufacturers who will seek to push demand for internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles before European Union regulations destroys ICE profitability.

Tesla TSLA +1.6% will retain its lead in BEV sales and profitability and only the best of traditional manufacturers like VW and Mercedes look like posing a serious challenge.

Meanwhile, Chinese carmakers, which tried and failed to penetrate Europe markets with traditional ICE cars, look like being much more of a threat with electric ones.

In Western Europe, BEVs are now linked with big numbers. Recently, sales passed one million in the year, while Germany recently announced there were now 1 million BEVs on its roads. BMW announced in early December it had sold its 1 millionth electric vehicle and plans to reach 2 million by 2025.

Western Europe includes the big markets of Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain.

BEV sales more than doubled in 2020 to just under 750,000 and jumped again this year with sales of 1,143,000, according to Schmidt Automotive Research, representing a market share of 10.3%. The pace of growth will slow though with market share rising to 12.0% in 2022, 13e.0% in 2023 and 15.0% in 2024, before jumping 5 points to 20.0% in 2025 and an estimated total of 2,860,000.

Fitch Ratings warns that even though the number of available electric cars and SUVs is increasing and battery technology is improving, range anxiety is still an issue, and a slow expansion of the charging infrastructure could impede a major step-up in EV sales.

In addition, EV profitability does not yet match that of ICE vehicles and (manufacturers) earnings and cash flows will remain burdened by further heavy technology investments over the next several years,” Fitch Ratings said in a report.

“Margin dilution from a higher share of EVs has been manageable for carmakers as government subsidies enticed EV buyers, but a gradual removal of the incentives could weigh on profitability in the medium term, diluting manufacturers’ margins but helping them to avoid (excess CO2) fines (from the EU). We also expect greater competition for European carmakers from new entrants, notably China,” Fitch Ratings said.

According to David Leah, analyst with LMC Automotive, the number of Chinese electric models in Europe has more than doubled over five years and government backing at home has given them a competitive advantage.

“This has allowed Chinese (manufacturers) to develop more competitive battery technology, as well as control large parts of the battery material chain, thus enabling them to achieve greater economies of scale. BEV prices have halved in China during the last 8 years, whilst increasing by 42%-55% in the West,” Leah said.

“As a result, Western (manufacturers) are playing catch up in the mass market BEV space, and the growing threat of new entrants has forced Western companies to reassess their competitiveness as competition intensifies,” Leah said.

Prospects for BEV sales won’t have been helped by news Wednesday one of the biggest selling electric cars in Europe, the Renault Zoe, was awarded zero stars in the Euro NCAP safety ratings, and the Dacia Spring only 1 star. Dacia is Renault’s value brand which uses mainly old technology to cut prices to the bone. Most modern vehicles score 5 stars in these tests.

Investment bank UBS expects strong global BEV sales, with Tesla remaining the undisputed leader.

“In 2021, Tesla has gapped away further from all others in terms of volume growth and margins, and Tesla’s lead should be undisputed in 2022 as battery cell supply could emerge as the next bottleneck for the industry,” UBS analyst Patrick Hummel said in a report.

“We expect global BEV sales to grow by about 60% again in 2022, reaching 7 million or 8% share globally. Only the fastest moving (traditional manufacturers) can avoid further bleeding to Tesla, such as Mercedes-Benz and VW Group. As BEV demand will likely continue to exceed supply, BEV pricing will be very solid and therefore margin parity vs. ICE cars reached over the next 1-2 years,” Hummel said.

And Schmidt Automotive Research said the slowing in BEV market share to 2024 is the result of manufacturers seeing a window to push profitable ICE vehicle sales before EU regulations on CO2 tighten. More regulation in 2027 will have a similar impact before BEV demand wins again, as ICE profit margins disintegrate.

Schmidt Automotive reckons BEV sales will gradually accelerate again and reach a market share of 60.0% by 2030, or 8.4 million vehicles.  VW has said its European BEV sales will hit 70% by 2030 while Ford Europe and Jaguar have set a 100% target.

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Source: European Electric Car Sales Growth Will Slow Before Spurting, While China Lurks

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Should Tesla Have Built Its European Gigaplant In The UK Instead Of Germany?

After all, Germany wasn’t the only option on the table. There were rumors last year that Elon Musk was in talks with the UK government to open a Gigafactory in Somerset in the UK. Some years ago, the UK was a preferred manufacturing location for non-European car brands because it had direct access to the EU market but more relaxed labor laws.

Several Japanese manufacturers, including Toyota, allegedly built their manufacturing in the UK for that reason. The country was even dubbed the “Japanese aircraft carrier floating off the coast of Europe” in 1992 by Jacques Calvet, who was then head of PSA Group, a French automaker that was the country’s largest industrial company at the time (and now part of Stellantis).

Sadly, Brexit has reduced the UK’s utility in this respect, so that only the reduced red tape at the manufacturing stage remains. There is now a lot more bureaucracy when it comes to trading with the EU from the UK, and that was reportedly a major factor in Honda closing its Swindon factory after 35 years.

Officially, bureaucracy is not why Tesla walked away from the EU money he was being offered, though, even if you can bet there would have been many hoops to jump through to get it. Musk stated that he had turned down the $1.28 billion in EU funding for the Berlin Gigafactory because “It has always been Tesla’s view that all subsidies should be eliminated. But that must include the massive subsidies for oil & gas. For some reason, governments don’t want to do that…”

You should always take such statements from Musk with a pinch of salt, particularly considering his record on labor relations, which isn’t as benevolent as his environmental message. However, he does have a point about subsidies. There are a lot of complaints about governmental assistance for EVs and green energy, but the oil and gas industry hasn’t exactly been free from monetary incentives over the years either.

Activist group Paid to Pollute claims the UK has provided nearly £14 billion ($18.7 billion) in subsidies to oil and gas since 2016 alone. In the US, the figure is more than this every year, with an Oil Change International report in 2017 putting the American total at $20.5 billion annually.

There is also more to attract business than just hassle-free labor, financial kickbacks, and free trade agreements. The UK does have considerable other opportunities in the brave new world of EVs. Start-up Britishvolt broke ground on the UK’s first battery Gigaplant in August, a £2.6 billion ($3.5 billion) project that aims to create 8,000 new jobs and manufacture 30GWh of batteries from 2027 onwards, enough for 300,000 EVs a year.

The UK also has its own supplies of lithium, a key element in most rechargeable battery chemistries, which Cornish Lithium and British Lithium hope to exploit. This is both from mining and brine, geothermal underground water that is high in lithium content. These companies even argue that there will be enough local lithium to electrify the entire UK car fleet. Electric hypercar maker Rimac has its design office in the UK too, because of the talent available in the country.

Tesla does need to think about where it is producing cars for the right-hand-drive market. This doesn’t just include the UK, but also Japan, South Africa (plus several adjacent countries), Australia, New Zealand and (the big ones) India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Malaysia and Thailand also drive on the left. In fact, the sum of right-hand-drivers is 2.8 billion people – 36% of the world population.

Right now, the Tesla cars coming into the UK are being made in China, which ironically is considered to be a quality improvement over those manufactured in America. The Chinese Model 3s now also come with LFP batteries, which are cheaper, more tolerant of being charged to 100%, and contain no cobalt, so are free of the moral issues that mining that mineral poses. But even if China is a cost-effective place to produce cars, transporting them around the world is hardly great for the environment.

Tesla will almost certainly iron out its problems in Germany sometime in 2022. But you do have to wonder if Elon Musk is considering it a rather bitter pill dealing with the bureaucracy that he has faced setting up the Gigafactory in Berlin. Even when the plant opens, this is likely to continue, looking at past history in Europe. Perhaps, as the EV market continues to grow, local UK manufacturing could end up back on the table. Brexit or no Brexit, the UK is still a very lucrative automotive market after all.

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I am the editor of independent electric vehicle website WhichEV. I have over 25 years’ experience as a technology journalist and a life-long love of cars, so having the two come

Source: Should Tesla Have Built Its European Gigaplant In The UK Instead Of Germany?

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A Diesel Engine Giant Pushes Batteries And Hydrogen At COP26 To Combat Climate Crisis

Cummins Inc., a century-old maker of truck engines powered by diesel and other fossil fuels, may not seem like the most likely attendee at the UN Climate Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, but CEO Tom Linebarger was there this week telling industrial partners and customers the company is working to help them shift to low- and no-carbon vehicles powered by batteries and hydrogen.

As battery-electric passenger models gain market share in the U.S., Europe and China, attention is shifting to electrifying larger, dirtier commercial vehicles including semi-trucks, construction and mining vehicles, as well as trains, ships and aircraft. Currently, no single type of electric power train can easily scale to handle light and heavy-duty vehicle categories, so it’s necessary to use both, Linebarger tells Forbes.

“If you’re flogging one thing and you trash the other, it’s not a good plan for meeting the challenge of climate change,” he said from Glasgow. “Climate change is the existential crisis of our time. It’s just not a good idea to argue about whether batteries are better than fuel cells.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose company has become synonymous with electric cars, is among the most vocal critics of using hydrogen as a transportation fuel, citing its inefficiency relative to batteries and the high cost of the fuel cell stacks that make electric power from hydrogen and oxygen. Yet makers of trucks and commercial vehicles that need to travel long distances aren’t convinced that multi-ton, lithium-ion battery packs that need relatively long recharge times are the best option.

(Notably, Musk also doesn’t launch his SpaceX rockets with batteries, but instead a blend of kerosene and liquid oxygen that spew climate-warming black carbon, or soot.)

Shifting away from carbon-based fuels was a key topic for negotiators at COP26 and appeared to have made a historic breakthrough with a first-draft agreement calling for the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies. But a second draft appeared to soften the wording as major oil and gas producers fight to save subsidies.

Rather than storing electricity as batteries do, fuel cells make it as needed in an electrochemical process involving hydrogen and oxygen that emits only water as a by-product. Columbus, Indiana-based Cummins is far from alone in pushing hydrogen to power heavy-duty vehicles. Toyota, Hino, Hyundai Motor, Volvo, Daimler, Nikola, General Motors and Navistar have their own hydrogen-fueled plans.

They say the technology is better suited for heavy trucks that drive hundreds of miles per day than multi-ton batteries, such as those required by Tesla’s long-delayed electric Semi, as the fuel cell power train is lighter and can be refueled about as quickly as a diesel truck.

Cummins sees batteries as a better option for smaller, lighter types of vehicles that don’t need to travel particularly long distances, but not as practical for users in remote areas or who require heavier types of applications.

“To bring battery-charging stations to every farm and every application, it’s just incredibly expensive, versus to make hydrogen available, which is transportable,” Linebarger says. “And vice versa . . . hydrogen is just not a good fuel when you can charge your cars at home and have to transport hydrogen around. You just lose too much efficiency.”

During the international conference, Cummins met with operators of large commercial fleets who are eager to make them more sustainable but are running into practical challenges to do so.

“There’s many big fleets here, actually. Their sustainability leaders here meeting with us are saying, ‘How can they hit these goals? And how can we help them do that faster?’” Amy Davis, president of Cummins’ New Power Segment, said from Glasgow. “They’re getting their head around last-mile trucks, but what about long-haul?

It can’t get there right now and [saying] ‘I couldn’t even charge three of my trucks at once, given the system that’s out there for charging. So what are we going to do?’ This is where fuel cell electric drive train can be quite complementary with the battery work that’s going on.”

But even as electric power train technologies advance, other options shouldn’t be overlooked in the near term, says Linebarger.

“We should start even on technologies that we have today, like lower carbon fuels, natural gas, renewable natural gas in (internal combustion) engines, because we are running out of time. It’s just that simple,” he said. “We are putting carbon in the atmosphere that we cannot remove so we need to get moving on all of them.”

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Business, Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN. “Why electric cars are so much heavier than regular cars

 

Organic Based EV Battery Turns To Ethanol For a Boost In Energy Density

While on the face of it, the lithium-batteries that power electric vehicles play an important role in our ongoing shift to sustainable transport, they aren’t without environmental problems of their own. Batteries that use organic, readily available materials in place of rare metals are seen as a promising part of the solution to this dilemma, and new research led by University of Houston scientists demonstrates how the performance of these eco-friendly devices might be brought up to speed.

As demand for electronic devices and vehicles continues to grow, so does the reliance on lithium-ion batteries that rely on scarce metals. Front and center of this dilemma is cobalt, the mining of which is not only associated with environmental degradation and pollution of water supplies, but plagued by ethical issues such as the exploitation of child labor. The use of these metals also makes recycling the batteries difficult at the end of their lives.

However, we are seeing some exciting advances being made in the development of batteries that do away with these types of materials and use organic ones instead. These have included organic-based batteries that can break down in acid for recycling, a heavier reliance on cheaper and more environmentally friendly nickel, and even one from IBM that uses materials found in seawater.

The new device marries this organic architecture with another promising branch of battery research focusing on the use of solid-state electrolytes. Typical batteries move their electrical charge between two electrodes, a cathode and anode, in a liquid electrolyte solution, but scientists are making great inroads into alternative designs that use a solid electrolyte instead. This type of architecture could also allow batteries to work with a lithium metal anode, which could store as much as 10 times the energy of current devices.

The scientists behind the new battery have solved what they say is a key limitation of organic-based, solid-state lithium batteries. Where cobalt-based cathodes afford these batteries a high energy density, ones made from organic materials suffer from limited energy density, which the team found to be because of microscopic structures within the cathode. “Cobalt-based cathodes are often favored because the microstructure is naturally ideal but forming the ideal microstructure in an organic-based solid-state battery is more challenging,” says study author Jibo Zhang.

Working with a cathode made from an organic material called pyrene-4,5,9,10-tetraone (PTO), the scientists used ethanol as a solvent to alter its microstructure. This treatment resulted in a new arrangement that allowed for better transport of ions within the cathode and boosted its energy density to 302 Wh/kg, which the team says is 83 percent higher than current state-of-the-art solid-state batteries with organic cathodes.

“We are developing low-cost, earth-abundant, cobalt-free organic-based cathode materials for a solid-state battery that will no longer require scarce transition metals found in mines,” says Yao. “This research is a step forward in increasing EV battery energy density using this more sustainable alternative.”

Nick Lavars

 

By: Nick Lavars

 

Source: Organic-based EV battery turns to ethanol for a boost in energy density

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