Chinese electric vehicle startup Li Auto Inc, former known as CHJ Automotive, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the Unied States. The filing comes as share prices of major electric vehicle companies such as Tesla and Nio Inc have surged over the past few weeks, underscoring the growing investor appetite to future and tech-related stocks.

The five-year-old company announced on Friday last week that it had already submitted its IPO filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company, which is backed by Chinese food delivery giant Meituan Dianping, is planning to list its share on the NASDAQ in New York under the ticker symbol "LI."

Acting as underwriters for the deal are Goldman Sachs, UBS, and Morgan Stanley. Li Auto did not disclose how much it was planning to raise through the share sale. However, a report that cited sources close to the matter claimed that the company was aiming to raise capital of around $500 million through the IPO.

The Beijing-based electric carmaker currently has around 21 showrooms across China. The company stated that it plans to at least have 60 showrooms by the end of the year.

In the first six months of this year, the company managed to sell 9,666 electric vehicles. The figure is quite respectable given how the overall electric market in the world's largest auto market had continued to slump for the twelfth straight month as of June. Demand for electric vehicles continued to remain at lower levels for the past two quarters due to the ongoing economic slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

 Unlike its full-electric rivals, Li Auto is primarily developing extended-range electric vehicles. These types of vehicles, often called E-REVs, are essentially electric vehicles equipped with a small ICE unit or generator that produces additional power and electricity. During normal city use or short drives, E-REVs can run in fully-electric mode, which means that they are essentially zero-emission vehicles. Once battery levels reach a certain point, the car can automatically turn on its ICE unit to help recharge the batteries, thereby extended its range.

The company's latest offering is its 2020 Leading Ideal One electric sports utility vehicle (SUV).  The vehicle, which started rolling out of its Changzhou production facility in November, has New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) verified range of over 800 kilometers on a single charge and a full tank of petrol. The luxury seven-seat SUV is priced at around 328,000 yuan or roughly $46,870.