Editor’s note: This story has been updated.
VinFast is scheduled to break ground on its $4 billion EV production plant in Moncure, Chatham County next week.
The Vietnamese electric vehicle maker made the announcement in a press release that it will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on July 28 at Triangle Innovation Point. Covering an area of approximately 1,800 acres,
VinFast’s factory is designed to reach a capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year in phase 1. The factory will consist of two main areas: electric vehicle production and assembly. The complex will also house supplementary supplier businesses, according to the release.
The company said the project had received basic permits to begin Phase 1 construction.
“The manufacturing facility in North Carolina is one of VinFast’s key projects,” said Madam Le Thi Thu Thuy, CEO of VinFast Auto in the release. “When it begins operations, the factory will be VinFast’s primary supplier of electric vehicles to the North American market, allowing us to optimize production and business activities. We hope the construction of the factory in Chatham County will contribute to advancing the clean energy economy in the US and help to support North Carolina’s green mobility strategy.”
The company submitted an application for a commercial zoning compliance permit (CZP) to the Chatham County Planning Board on July 11 for the plant.
Karen Lusk Dudley, public information officer with Chatham County, told Carolina Journal in an emailed statement that the CZP is the first step in the permitting process that allows VinFast to submit for their building permit to begin construction.
The company has submitted a building application for the assembly building at the site which is under review by the county’s Central Permitting and Inspections Department.
“VinFast’s goal is to have the permit prior to the ceremony next Friday, and we are attempting to make that happen,” she said.
In addition, other permits are required for the groundbreaking, including tent, event, and electrical permits. The county is processing the tent and event permits and are sill waiting for the electrical permit application.
Plans include a 2.85 million square foot complex comprising eight buildings, including a press shop, the tallest building, at 75.2 feet, and a general assembly building, the largest at 995,900 square feet. Other buildings include a body shop, central energy plant, paint shop, guard house, pump house, and waste building.
On July 13, shareholders of Black Spade Acquisition Company, the special-purpose-acquisition company (SPAC) that VinFast was supposed to merge with on July 20, decided to extend the company’s lifespan by another year. The vote now gives the SPAC until July 20, 2024, to merge with the company.
The merger would allow VinFast to go public through a stock offering in the U.S. It would value the company at approximately $27 billion with an equity value of $23 billion. After the transaction, existing shareholders of VinFast would hold about 99% shares of the combined company.
In connection with the extension, shareholders redeemed approximately $147 million, or over 80% of their shares, leaving $28.56 million in the trust account.
In addition, VinFast has only had 128 new vehicle registrations from January to May for its VF8 crossover.
Although the vehicle is only currently being sold in California, Insideevs.com said the sales are abysmal considering that California is America’s largest EV market, with approximately 40% of all zero-emission vehicle sales in the country.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the recall due to a multifunction head-unit display problem caused by a software error that may cause it to go blank while driving, increasing the chances of a crash. The error was talked about in-depth in many critical reviews in the past few months.
Reviews of the vehicle sparked words like abysmal, “very, very bad,” “yikes,” “simply unacceptable,” and “return to sender,” including from the highly respected MotorTrend, which said VinFast had the right idea, but the VF8 is nowhere near ready for customer deliveries that are already taking place.
Original plans to open the Chatham County site were pushed back from 2024 to 2025.
To attract the newly formed company, the state and Chatham County committed to spending nearly $1.2 billion in incentives over the next 32 years.
Using the state’s Transformative Job Development and Investment Grant program (JDIG), VinFast could get up to $316.1 million in reimbursement from the state over three decades if the company meets hiring goals.
The total state appropriation is estimated at $766 million, with Chatham County giving VinFast another $400 million incentive package.