If you want to lose a lot of money, become an automaker. Cars are incredibly difficult to build and scaling manufacturing is nearly impossible. It took Tesla years to get the Model 3 to market after bringing the Model S and Model X to the road. So Vietnam’s VinFast decision to become an EV automaker after it spent a few years building vehicles based on BMW’s platform is sort of insane. And yet, this week we had the opportunity to drive the VF 8, the first VinFast EV to land in the United States.
Driving the VF 8 in San Diego was a stark reminder of the difficulty of building a vehicle. While we were impressed with what the company has done, we also have to report that the VF 8 electric SUV needs work if it’s going to truly compete with the rest of the US EV market.
Oddly, VinFast had us drive the lease-only California edition that’s actually only available in the Golden State. It has a shorter range than its competitors and the standard version of the vehicle that’s hitting US shores right now.
Overall though, we found the car needs a few more months of tweaks (most of which are software) to battle it out in the increasingly competitive mid-size electric SUV market. But don’t count them out: VinFast has the foundation to be a major player sooner than you think. Watch our first drive video below for the full story.
This story originally appeared on Engadget