Vietnamese Car Maker VinFast Invests In Israeli Electric Vehicle Battery Startup

By Ralph Jennings, Contributor
A VinFast VF 5 electric vehicle is displayed at the VinFast booth at CES 2022 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 5, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Alex Wong/Getty Images

VinFast, the automobile arm of Vietnam’s largest conglomerate Vingroup, has led an $80 million funding round for Israeli electric vehicle battery developer StoreDot. The deal is expected to help VinFast secure fast-charging batteries for its own EVs as it prepares to launch in the U.S.

StoreDot, which is also backed by Russian-Jewish billionaire Roman Abramovich, will use the funds for research and development, as well as to boost mass production of silicon-dominant, extreme fast-charging battery cells by 2024, StoreDot said in a statement.

VinFast, with ambitions to sell electric cars outside its home market, could parlay the funding round into a secure source of batteries for its own vehicles, analysts say.

“VinFast has cast a wide net by working with a number of battery companies—both mature ones and startups,” says Christopher Robinson, senior analyst at Lux Research. “VinFast could be an early customer of the company and could even co-invest in battery production. This would accelerate StoreDot’s time to market and provide VinFast access to an emerging battery technology.”

Third-party partnerships will help VinFast develop vehicles, the automaker’s deputy CEO, Pham Thuy Linh, said in the statement. StoreDot is “led by gifted scientists and experienced entrepreneurs” and with enough funding should be ready for mass production “globally in a very near term,” she added.

VinFast is preparing for a U.S. IPO later this year amid ambitions to build up its American customer base. VinFast had introduced two electric car models, the VF e35 and VF e36, at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

VinFast isn’t the only one eyeing EV-related partnerships, says Sam Abuelsamid, a principal analyst with market research firm Guidehouse Insights. “As far as synergies, most OEMs are investing in battery companies in order to ensure access to what they think might be important tech to enable much faster charging, better durability [and] higher energy density, as well as guaranteed supply,” he says.

Getting the right battery can affect the popularity of an EV. Access to charging and time to charge are among the top consumer concerns about buying electric cars, Guidehouse Insights has found in a survey. StoreDot’s battery technology is focused specifically on fast charging, Robinson says.

VinFast has brought on executives from Tesla, BMW, Porsche, Toyota and Nissan to help grow it into a global smart electric car company. A VinFast official has said some of the company’s models would sell for less than their Tesla equivalents. The 28-year-old Vingroup, which is chaired by billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong, engages mainly in Vietnamese real estate, retail, hotel-resorts and smartphone manufacturing.


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