A Vietnamese electric vehicle company looking to build a factory in the United States has left dozens of North Carolina residents fearful of losing their homes to eminent domain. It was just under a year ago when Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) announced a deal with VinFast to build a factory in the state. The factory is set to build both electric cars and electric batteries.
“North Carolina is quickly becoming the center of our country’s emerging, clean energy economy,” Gov. Cooper said in a 2022 statement. “VinFast’s transformative project will bring many good jobs to our state, along with a healthier environment as more electric vehicles take to the road to help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
In order to make that happen, the state has pledged to use eminent domain to evict multiple homeowners, businesses and a church in order to build the electric vehicle factory. Eminent domain is a government right to take private property for public use, compensating the owner.
Original plans included the displacement of 27 homes, five businesses and the Merry Oaks Baptist Church, which had stood in its same spot since 1888. The North Carolina Department of Transportation did alter its plans following concerns from local residents. However, the church is still set to be seized.
Last week, VinFast announced a delay in its production timeline. The company will not be able to begin production until 2025, rather than the original goal of summer 2024.