Vinfast recalls its first batch of VF8s to fix blank-screen bug

Vinfast recalls its first batch of VF8s to fix blank-screen bug

Jonathan Gitlin

It didn’t take long before it all went wrong for the crossover from Hai Phong. Vinfast, the startup automaker from Vietnam, just launched its VF8 battery EV here in the US, an event that generated plenty of negative press about the wildly inconsistent quality control evident among its test fleet. Now, the company has had to recall its first batch of BEVs due to a bug that can cause the car’s display to go blank, taking out the speedo and warning lights in the process.

Ars drove the VF8 earlier this month and found a car that was not fully baked yet. But our experience on that test drive was better than that of many of our peers, who reported a litany of issues with its software, build quality, and, in some cases, handling.

This recall falls into the first of those categories. Vinfast says the first incident of a VF8 screen going blank occurred in late April. It then went digging for similar incidents and found four more customer reports of screens going blank. By mid-May—the day the VF8 reviews all went live, ironically—Vinfast decided to issue a recall to fix the problem.

There have been 18 instances of the screen going blank, affecting different cars. Eight of these instances happened when the vehicle was in park, but at least five happened when the car was in drive or reverse.

Vinfast says the problem is a software defect that “occurs due to a processing malfunction that disrupts the feed of data to the screen. The MHU [Multifunction Head Unit] continues to operate as per design intent, but the system is unable to render images on the MHU (screen).”

The fix, as is so often the case with our increasingly cloud-connected cars, is a software update. In this case, the update contains “a new watchdog mechanism that detects this process malfunction and subsequently reinitializes this small piece of software. It is able to detect and recover the process error in under 200ms,” according to the Part 573 Safety Recall Notice. The software update should begin being pushed out today.

The recall notice also gives us insight into how many VF8s are out there in the wild. So far, Vinfast has only imported an initial batch of 999 VF8s, of which it says 153 are in the company’s fleet and another 111 are in customers’ hands.

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