VinFast VF e35 and e36 EV crossovers lead ambitions


The Vietnamese automaker VinFast has been in the automotive industry for four years. Its first car was a BMW with a badge design licensed from Munich, and a Chevrolet Spark, which was re-badged for VinFast’s domestic market. As part of the VinGroup conglomerate founded by the wealthiest man in Vietnam and now run by former Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller, this upstart has a huge global expansion plan. These plans really started with the VinFast VF e35 and VF 36 battery electric crossovers launched at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, both of which were designed by Pininfarina Design Company, which has invested US$200 million to build its North American headquarters in Los Angeles.

The length of the e35 is about one inch shorter than the Kia Niro. Other markets may get a smaller e34, but the US support will be e35. VinFast said that the standard battery pack will provide 86 kWh of usable power, but there is no mention of the actual kWh of the battery pack, but a larger battery pack can be selected. It is said that the smaller bag can travel about 285 miles on a single charge, and the larger bag can extend it to about 310 miles, but it is not clear whether these are European WLTP or US EPA ratings.

We are also not sure which powertrain specifications the United States will get, but globally, the model will be available in a single-motor form with 201 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The dual-motor version is twice these figures. The dual-motor power system should enable the e35 to reach 62 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds, and the e36 to reach the target in 6.5 seconds.

The e35 and e36 are handsome, unassuming crossovers, known for the “V” pattern in the grille and taillight logo and the Venturi-like C-pillar on the e36. The e35 on the Los Angeles booth was equipped with a finished interior with a 15.4-inch touch screen and no dashboard. VinFast Design Director David Lyon explained the reason for the lack of instrumentation, “Our vehicles are equipped with full-color windshield projection head-up displays. This is a very open and spacious interior. You can operate the vehicle through the steering wheel control. Your hands are on the steering wheel and your eyes are on the road.” When the driver is looking at the road, the e35 will see everything. It is said to be equipped with 14 cameras, lidar and 19 360-degree sensors.

The three-row e36 extends 201 inches, which is about 3 inches longer than the Ford Explorer. The display model has no interior, but it seems that e36 will follow the lead of e35. The e36 also uses the same general battery layout. A smaller standard 90 kWh battery pack claims to be able to travel 301 miles, while the larger battery pack pushes it to 423 miles. Fast charging will restore 70% of battery power in 15 minutes.

As part of a larger technology group, VinFast will use other divisions of VinGroup to obtain functions such as VinAI, Vantix, and VinBigData to implement AI-enabled driver assistance functions, such as driver and traffic monitoring, fully automated parking, and vehicle calling . VinGroup will use its external investments to provide additional capabilities for its products, such as Singapore’s Autobrains self-learning artificial intelligence for autonomous driving, and Israeli battery developer StoreDot, which is committed to extremely fast charging.

VinFast plans to start pre-orders for these two cars in the first half of next year, first focusing on California, and the first delivery is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2022. Initial production will take place at the automaker’s plant in Haiphong, Vietnam, but it plans to open a plant in the United States by the end of 2024. From now to then, the company is working to set up 60 company-owned showrooms across the country and more showrooms in Canada. Repairs will be done through on-site service, or when the car needs repairs, VinFast will provide customers with a loaner car. The company is also developing a strategy to build charging stations nationwide; the country is launching 40,000 radio stations in Vietnam, which is slightly smaller than Montana.

Aside from the intention to provide quality products at “attractive prices,” there is no mention of suggested retail prices. Lohscheller stated that the company wants to first ensure that its brand positioning is correct. To encourage the adoption of an unknown brand in a country that is almost impossible to pinpoint on the map, both models will come with a 10-year warranty, including batteries. If buyers are worried that the rapid development of battery technology in the next few years will lag behind, they can buy vehicles but lease the batteries and replace the upgrade kit when available.

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