VinFast EV dashboard
VinFast is offering customers a unique pricing strategy, where instead of buying a vehicle with a battery pack, they can buy the vehicle and lease the battery separately on monthly basis. Image: VinFast

VinFast’s battery leasing subscription plan requires customers to think outside the box. The unusual sales tactic in Canada means customers rent the vehicle battery to lower the upfront cost of the VF 8 and VF 9 models

At a private event this week in Mississauga, Ont., VinFast officially unveiled its VF 8 and VF 9 SUVs in Canada just days after confirming the details of its unusual battery leasing program for its flagship vehicles.

The Vietnamese-headquartered automaker offers customers a unique pricing strategy, where instead of buying a vehicle with a battery pack, they can buy the vehicle and lease the battery separately on monthly basis. The five-seater VF 8 — which has a starting price of $51,250 sans battery — is expected to arrive in Canada by the end of 2022, while the seven-seater VF 9 — starting at $69,750 — will follow a few months after. A smaller model, the VF 7, which has yet to be priced, is expected later in 2023.

Once the vehicle is purchased, customers in Canada will be able to choose from different battery leasing prices based on their driving habits and will pay that additional rental fee on a monthly basis.

“By separating the price of the battery from the acquisition value of the automobile, VinFast takes on all the risks related to the vehicle’s battery and ensures a reasonable price for its products, while providing customers with peace of mind about the battery’s quality during use,” said the company in a past press statement.

VinFast is currently the only automaker in Canada that offers a battery leasing program to customers.

Battery leasing terms

VinFast will offer its customers two battery subscription packages: flexible and fixed.

Customers opting for the flexible program will get 500 kilometres of battery mileage per month for $39 for the VF 8 and $59 for the VF 9. However, for every kilometre that goes over the 500 km limit, a charge of nine cents and 11 cents will be added, respectively.

Under the “fixed” plan, it will cost customers $139 per month to lease the battery for the VF 8 model and $199 per month for the VF 9. The fixed option gives unlimited kilometres.

All battery leasing prices are before sales tax.

The battery leasing fee does not include the cost of charging (or refuelling), which will vary for customers based on the electricity rates where they live in Canada and the time of day or night they charge. But VinFast claims their rental scheme will still see drivers coming out ahead of comparable cost for refuelling a combustion engine vehicle.

NRCan offers a cost calculator to help combustion and hybrid drivers estimates their cost of refuelling in a year. The range for 2022 for combustion vehicles shows that most Canadians will spend between $1,000-$2,500 per year in gas, depending on the model of car they drive, but costs, of course, fluctuate depending on the price of gas.

The rental agreement gets customers other perks, too, says VinFast. Under the rental agreement, customers will receive a lifetime warranty that covers all battery maintenance and repair fees. When the charging capacity of the battery drops below 70 per cent, VinFast says it will replace the battery free of charge — a commitment that the automaker honours even if the vehicle changes ownership. In cars sold with batteries the standard warranty is 8-10 years or 100,000 kilometres and covers all repairs or replacements in the event of a battery failure.

VinFast says it will also take care of the end-of-life of the batteries, to minimize environmental impacts.

By 2024, VinFast is going to offer customers the option to buy their vehicle — complete with battery — outright for a higher sales price, or elect to participate in the battery leasing program. VinFast has not released details yet on what its battery warranty will be for those cars sold after 2023 either in the battery leasing program or bought outright.

VF 8 and VF 9 pricing

 Both the VF 8 and VF 9 come in either an Eco or Plus trim level.

At a cost of VF 8 with Eco trim will have a range up to 420 km, while the sportier VF 8 Plus trim will have more acceleration and a range of up to 400 km. In 2023, a higher-capacity battery with a range of 471 km and 447 km will be available for both models.

Meanwhile, the VF 9 Eco and VF 9 Plus has an estimated range of 438 km and 423 km, respectively, with pricing at $69,750 and $75,250 based on the trim. Similar to the VF 8 2023 model, the range capacity will increase to 594 km and 580 km next year when VinFast begins to use its higher-capacity batteries.

The current batteries for both the VF 8 and VF 9 come in two sizes: 82.7 kwh and an extended range of 87.0 kwh. VinFast says the vehicles are capable of charging from 10 to 70 per cent in up to 35 minutes on a fast charger. VinFast has not released any details on size or charging speed yet of the higher-capacity batteries coming in 2023.

Recently, the federal government raised the cut-off pricing for vehicles in its iZEV rebate program to $55,000. This now means that the VF 8 may qualify for a $5,000 rebate from the federal government, but confirmation of same has yet to be formalized by either the government or VinFast. The VF 9 price remains out of reach for either federal or provincial subsidies.

With a fully refundable $250 deposit, Canadians can reserve either vehicle online at VinFast’s website and get an e-Voucher of up to $3,500 on the VF 8 and $6,000 on the VF 9.

Early reservation holders will also receive a free mobile charger for the vehicle, ADAS and Smart Service packages and a weeklong vacation at a resort in Vietnam.