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If you want to lose a lot of money, become an automaker. Automobiles are very difficult to manufacture and nearly impossible to scale. After launching the Model S and Model X, Tesla took years to bring the Model 3 to market. So Vietnam’s VinFast’s decision to become an EV automaker after spending several years building vehicles based on BMW’s platform is, in a way, insanity. Still, this week we had the chance to drive the VF 8, the first of his VinFast EVs to land in the US.
Driving the VF 8 in San Diego made me realize how hard it is to build a vehicle. While we’ve been impressed with the company’s performance, we must also report that the VF8 electric SUV needs work to truly compete with the rest of the US EV market.
Oddly enough, VinFast had us drive a lease-only California Edition, which is actually only available in the Golden State. It has a shorter range than its competitors and the standard version vehicles currently landing in the US.
Overall, though, we found the car needed a few more months of tweaking, mostly software, to compete in the increasingly competitive midsize electric SUV market. But don’t take them into consideration. VinFast has the foundations to become a major player sooner than you think. For the full story, check out the first drive video below.