Pint-Sized VinFast VF3 EV Lands Record Orders Despite Measly 130-Mile Range

By 4 Min Read

The tiny VinFast VF3 two-door electric vehicle which will eventually make its way to the United States landed a record number of orders in its home country of Vietnam.

Within 66 hours of its commercial launch, VinFast got 27,649 non-refundable and non-transferable pre-orders, the biggest number for any new car in Vietnam, according to the maker of the VF3 and VF8.

To get this result, VinFast not only set up an online reservation page but reached out to multiple e-commerce platforms in Vietnam so that it would be extremely easy for anybody browsing the internet to stumble upon the pre-order process.

It is worth noting that VinFast has been criticized for its ordering statistics before. Last year, the financial publication Barron’s reported that much of VinFast’s 2023 sales were to itself—namely, a taxi subsidiary of parent company Vingroup. So while it may also be a hit with private buyers, it’s also tough to discount the idea that may sales could be effectively internal ones. 

Production is set to begin soon, with the first deliveries in its home country scheduled for August. By the end of 2024, VinFast wants to ship at least 20,000 VF3s.

The diminutive EV measures just 125.6 inches long, 66.1 in wide and 63.8 in tall, making itabout 30 inches shorter, 3 inches narrower and 1 inch taller than the discontinued Chevrolet Bolt EV.

It has two doors and seating for four people and an undisclosed cargo capacity with all the seats in place. with the rear bench folded, there’s 19.42 cubic feet of space for stuff.

Despite the huge interest from Vietnamese buyers, the VF3’s specs are unimpressive, to say the least. According to its maker, the entry-level EV will be powered by a single rear electric motor making 43 horsepower and 81 pound-feet of torque. It can sprint from a standstill to 31 miles per hour (not 60 or 62) in 5.3 seconds

The battery has a capacity of 18.64 kilowatt-hours, enabling a maximum range of 130 miles on a full charge. However, that’s not on the EPA’s procedure but rather on the antiquated and mostly obsolete NEDC test. To put things into perspective, the old BMW i3 with the largest available battery had an NEDC-rated range of 223 miles on a full charge and only 153 miles on the EPA cycle–that’s a 68% difference. If the same drop happens when the VF3 lands in the U.S., it would mean a range of just 88 miles.

At least it’s cheap. In Vietnam, it starts at the equivalent of around $9,300 with a battery subscription. Owning both the car and its battery raised the price tag to about $12,400. There’s also a seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty and an eight-year unlimited mileage warranty for the battery.

Would that estimated range be enough for U.S. traffic? We have our doubts. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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