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Chinese EV startup Nio files for $1.8 billion IPO

The Middle Kingdom's electric-vehicle market is only getting started.

As it turns out, electricity only made supercars better, not worse.

Nio doesn't even have a car for sale in the United States yet, and it might never, but it's aiming to be publicly traded on our stock market.

The Chinese startup that builds electric vehicles has filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange using the symbol NIO. Founded in 2014 as NextEV, Nio wants to break into China's burgeoning electric-vehicle market with a series of premium-tier cars. Tencent, a massive Chinese tech company, provides Nio's backing.

The IPO could be worth about $1.8 billion, which the company says it will use to boost its research and development, in addition to expanding its manufacturing facilities. According to its filing, Nio posted a net loss of $502.6 million in the first six months of 2018, while accumulating $6.95 million in revenue.

The automaker is still in its early phases. Its first vehicle, the ES8 electric seven-seat SUV, started deliveries in China this past June. It will expand its lineup to include a cheaper but also electric ES6 SUV either late this year or in 2019. A sedan is slated to follow in 2020, which should be based on the Eve concept Nio brought to last year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. For now, Nio will only sell vehicles in China, but I imagine the company has larger aspirations if its plan works out, and it already has an office in California.

Nio's most well-known vehicle in the US is probably the EP9 supercar. It gained notoriety last year when it earned the EV lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife with a time of 6 minutes, 45.9 seconds. This year, it snagged the production car record at the Goodwood Festival of Speed's hill climb.