Chinese electric carmaker Nio has filed for an initial public offering to sell its stock in the U.S., according to a Reuters report Tuesday.
The company, which has built a Formula E race car, an exotic electric sports car, and an electric SUV for China, is looking to ramp up production and build a smaller, more affordable SUV. It will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NIO.
Its ES8 SUV starts at $65,000 in China and aims to take on the Tesla Model X. The company says it has delivered 500 ES8s in China and has orders for another 17,000.
In its IPO filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it is looking for $1.8 billion to expand research and development of products and technology, marketing, and developing manufacturing facilities, according to Reuters.
Those funds could help the company complete its next SUV, the smaller ES6, and ramp up production of the ES8. It is also working on developing Level 4, geofenced self-driving capability—likely similar to Tesla's upcoming "on-ramp to off-ramp" Autopilot self-driving capability—by 2020.
The ES8 offers 220 miles of range from a 70-kwh battery pack for which Nio is developing a battery-swapping system with 1,100 stations in China. The big luxury SUV has two electric motors rated at 644 horsepower and a dash from 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds.
The $1.8 billion IPO that Nio is seeking would be make it the highest-valued Chinese automaker listed in the U.S. stock market.
Nio has already established a division in the U.S. as it lays plans to begin selling its cars here.
Chinese entrepreneur William Li founded the company in 2014 as NextEV, and has raised its first $1 billion in financing from Chinese investment giant Tencent.
Nio is one of a burgeoning number of electric carmakers based in China or backed by Chinese interests. Others include Byton, BYD, Detroit Electric, Faraday Future, Hybrid Kinetic, and Lucid Motors.