Perhaps, to someone with a casual knowledge of consumer-use electronic cars, the first brand name to come to mind is Tesla, one of the many company brainchildren of Elon Musk. Not only is it trying its hard best to break into true mass-production with their latest Model 3 sedan, Tesla is also well established globally with their cars selling in countries like China. But they may soon have a strong local competitor over there. A Chinese e-car startup is getting ready to clash with the big boys, and it is doing it by going public over at Wall Street itself.
As CNN tells it, the Chinese-American startup NIO has filed documents this Monday, August 13, stating their intention to list their shares on the New York stock exchange. The fledgling electronic car manufacturer, which is known by the name Weilai in China, hopes to be able to raise funds up to $1.8 billion out of their shares. And they are sure to be worth the price, considering the heavyweight names that are already invested in NIO, including Chinese tech giants such as Baidu and Tencent, plus the American venture firm Sequoia Capital. The company was founded in 2014 and only began rolling out their first electric vehicles back in 2017.
One factor that gives NIO a leg up against Tesla in the potential for customers in China is the fact that they have more affordable prices. Their ES8 e-SUV for example, only costs $65,000 per unit to Chinese consumers; the Tesla equivalent, the Model X, runs around twice that much. And that is quite the deal considering that for half the Tesla price NIO asserts that they could include the same Tesla features like a car AI and a public charging system boasting a lightning-fast charge speed of three minutes.
The fact that NIO announced its going public at Wall Street was a well-calculated move to show that it has ambitions to take their brand from just the Chinese market to the international scene. Already NIO offices are up and running in one city each of the US, the UK and Germany. The company’s president Lihong Qin has plotted NIO’s general direction to target the Chinese middle class who cannot quite afford other imported electric car brands like, naturally, Tesla. While their intent to make an initial public offering is set, they have yet to specify a timeframe for it.
NIO’s ES8 electric SUV began to be delivered to Chinese customers in June last year, but at present some 17,000 more units remain on order to be fulfilled. According to its NYSE filing they only just began generating revenue from their automobile sales this year.
Image courtesy of DriveMag