China's Nio Delivered 3,268 ES8 Electric SUVs in Third Quarter, Exceeding Production Target

But the company still isn't building many cars.

Nio

Chinese startup Nio claims to have delivered 3,268 ES8 electric SUVs in the third quarter of 2018. That puts it slightly over a previously-discussed goal of 2,900 to 3,000 deliveries for that quarter, according to Reuters. It's an encouraging sign for Nio, considering that most rival electric-car startups have yet to deliver a single vehicle.

Nio began delivering ES8 SUVs to Chinese customers in June. The automaker claimed to deliver 1,766 vehicles in September, which it said was a nearly 58-percent increase over the previous month. While a Chinese national holiday and planned maintenance will slow deliveries in October, the company believes it can deliver a total of 10,000 vehicles in the second half of 2018, according to Reuters.

Nio's numbers are small potatoes compared to mainstream automakers, or even Tesla, but the company is ahead of many other Chinese or Chinese-backed startups. There is no shortage of companies looking to emulate the success of Tesla with high-end electric cars, but the reality of getting those cars into production is proving challenging for some. Faraday Future recently began assembling pre-production cars in California, but has yet to deliver any vehicles to customers. Lucid Motors does not plan to begin deliveries until 2020. Byton plans to launch its M-Byte crossover in China by the end of 2019, with a U.S. launch by mid-2020.

Nio was launched in 2014 as NextEV by entrepreneur William Li. While the company has also built the limited-edition EP9 electric supercar, the ES8 is its first true production model. The seven-seat crossover boasts a claimed 643 horsepower and 619 pound-feet of torque. Nio previously quoted zero-to-62 mph in 4.4 seconds, and a range of 200 miles.

As it continues to ramp up production of the ES8 for China, Nio has its sights set on the United States. The automaker launched an initial public offering in September, raising $1 billion on the New York Stock Exchange. Nio has said it wants to begin selling cars in the U.S. in 2020, although trade tensions between the U.S. and China may affect that. It's unclear if Nio will try to sell the ES8 here or offer a different model. Nio's next vehicle will be a five-seat SUV called the ES6, according to Reuters, with an expected Chinese launch in June or July 2019.