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Electric car manufacturer VinFast to bring 7,500 jobs and ecological impact to Chatham County


Chatham County Courthouse pictured on Sept. 8, 2022. 

In March 2022, VinFast, a Vietnamese electric car manufacturer, announced that it would be building its first-ever manufacturing facility in the U.S. at Triangle Innovation Point in Chatham County.

VinFast’s move to Chatham County will bring 7,500 jobs and invest $4 billion into the TIP site over the next four years, according to the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation.

VinFast initially planned to break ground in fall of 2022, but the project is now expected to break ground later this year. The company plans to start manufacturing by 2024.

“The last year has been developing plans, going through alternative scenarios, public comment periods and responding to public comment, interactions with the United States Corps of Engineers, and of course the Department of Environmental Quality,” Patrick Norman, Division Eight engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation, said.

TIP is an industrial park with over 2,500 acres of land located in southeastern Chatham County within the rural, unincorporated community of Moncure, directly off of U.S. Highway 1.

The site was known as the Moncure Megasite until October 2021, in an effort to bring new businesses in the life sciences sector to the location, according to Michael Smith, president of Chatham County Economic Development Corporation.

The TIP website does not mention the site’s location in Moncure, but rather features the site’s proximity to Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

“It was kind of ironic that we made the marketing decision for the site to go in a different direction and then having the electric vehicle market heat up,” Smith said.

Although VinFast will take up about 2,000 acres of the available TIP land, the remaining land within the site is available for commercial purchase. The TIP website currently advertises the remaining land as a “450+ acre life science and advanced manufacturing park.”

“We had worked with the ownership group of the TIP site and had done various traffic impact studies, just assuming it was going to develop over a multitude of years until VinFast came knocking,” Norman said. 

Although the approval of the VinFast facility is a step toward furthering investments in clean energy across North Carolina due to the sustainability of electric vehicles, some residents of Chatham County are anxious about the environmental impacts of this streamlined development.

The Haw River Assembly, a nonprofit group dedicated to protecting the Haw River and Jordan Lake, is advocating for further exploration of the proposed VinFast facility’s impact upon wetlands and streams in the area.

“What we’re concerned about is that because this project is being fast-tracked, there’s a lot of environmental regulations that are being overlooked,” Emily Sutton, riverkeeper for the Haw River Assembly, said.

The VinFast site is seeking a permit from the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to permanently discharge dredged or fill material into the stream channel and wetlands within the TIP site. According to Haw River Assembly, this will drastically impact the wetland ecosystem and water quality in Chatham County.

“Right now, they’re clear-cutting hundreds of acres of forest land and grading it, filling and dredging streams, destroying the surface water in the area,” Sutton said.

The permit is still currently under review by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. Pending a decision, VinFast will potentially have to alter the current development plans for the TIP site. 

“This project has been prioritized by the Cooper Administration for green technology, and bringing green infrastructure to North Carolina through the economy and through jobs,” Sutton said.

In a March 2022 press release, Gov. Roy Cooper said VinFast’s move to Chatham County will bring many jobs to the state and will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through electric vehicles.

“What we want to see is that this company that is touting green energy, green technology and green infrastructure and things that are better for the planet, they need to follow through on the same values when it comes to constructing this facility,” Sutton said.

A spokesperson representing VinFast did not respond to The Daily Tar Heel's request for comment before the time of publication. 


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Walker Livingston

Walker Livingston is a 2023-24 assistant city & state editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as summer city & state editor. Walker is a sophomore pursuing a double major in journalism and media and American studies, with a minor in data science.