Chinese electric vehicle start-up Nio has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The Shanghai-based carmaker, seen as China’s answer to Tesla, expects to raise US$1.8bn to fund future expansion. The issue will be underwritten jointly by a number of investment banks, including Deutsche Bank Securities, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, J P Morgan, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and UBS Investment Bank among others.

In its prospectus to the NYSE, Nio claims it generated revenues of CNY46m (US$6.7m) in the first half of 2018 while incurring a loss of CNY3.33bn.

The company is understood to have started mass production of its first car, the ES8 battery-powered SUV priced at CNY448,000 (US$65,000), at the end of last year after it was first unveiled at last year’s Shanghai Motor Show. By the end of July it had delivered 481 units, according to local reports.

Nio’s three largest shareholders are founder and CEO Li Bin, which has a 17.2% stake, Tencent with 15.2% holding and Hillhouse Capital with 7.5%.

Nio has been working with a number of automotive partners, including Chongqing Changan Automobile, Tencent Holdings and Germany’s Continental, and in December it announced a joint venture with GAC Motor to develop smart cars.

The premium EV segment is hotting up in China, after Chinese start-up Qiantu Motor last week launched a battery-powered sports car, the K50, priced at CNY687,000 (US$99,600), while Tesla is also preparing to produce its range of EVs in China in the next couple of years.