Vietnamese car manufacturer VinFast is investing up to $2 billion to launch the construction of an electric vehicle and battery manufacturing plant in North Carolina, the company said Monday.
The plant will be VinFast’s first in North America, giving it a foothold in the United States’ nascent EV market. It will also be North Carolina’s first car manufacturing plant and the state’s largest-ever economic development deal.
The approximately $2 billion investment will fund the first phase of construction at new plant, located at the Triangle Innovation Point megasite in Chatham County. At the site, VinFast plans to produce electric cars and buses, as well as EV batteries. Production is expected to start in July 2024, with an initial capacity of around 150,000 vehicles per year.
VinFast was founded in 2017 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vietnam’s biggest conglomerate Vingroup. The company became the country’s first fully-domestic car manufacturer when it rolled out gas-powered vehicles in 2019, and it’s now transitioning to an all-electric lineup. It already provides a full range of EV products in Vietnam, including e-scooters, electric buses and electric cars, charging station systems and other green energy solutions.
VinFast is now growing globally, with operations in the US, Canada, Germany, France and the Netherlands.
EV adoption is expected to grow quickly in the next decade. Just 4 million EVs shipped globally in 2021, according ton Gartner, but the research firm expects shipments to reach 36 million by 2030, increasing by 32%. In the United States in 2021, Tesla held a whopping 74% of the market, with the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf and a few other models taking fractions of the market.
Having a production facility in the US “will help VinFast to proactively manage its supply chain, maintain stabilized prices and shorten product supply time, making VinFast’s EVs more accessible to customers, contributing to the realization of local environmental improvement goals,” Le Thi Thu Thuy, Vingroup Vice Chair and VinFast Global CEO, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the state of North Carolina expects VinFast to create 7,500 new jobs in the state and to grow the state’s economy by at least $71.59 billion over 32 years. To lure the carmaker to North Carolina, the state approved a grant for VinFast, qualifying it for a potential reimbursement of up to $316.1 million, paid over a time period of 32 years.