What happened

NIO's (NIO 0.17%) stock opened lower on Friday, after the Chinese electric-vehicle maker said that it will issue at least 60 million shares in a new offering next week.

As of 10:30 a.m. EST, NIO's American depositary shares were down about 4.9% from Thursday's closing price.

So what

NIO said that it will sell up to 69 million new American depositary shares, raising as much as $2.8 billion, in an offering that is expected to hit the market next week. The company plans to use the new cash for a variety of corporate purposes, including new-product development, the development of self-driving technologies, and to expand its sales and service network.

A NIO ES8 electric SUV is shown inside an automated battery-swap station.

NIO will likely spend some of the cash it raises to expand its network of automated battery-swap stations. Image source: NIO.

NIO definitely plans to sell 60 million shares. Its underwriters, including Morgan Stanley, have the right to purchase an additional 9 million shares within 30 days. 

NIO's offering follows similar secondary stock offerings from rivals including Tesla, which announced a $5 billion raise earlier this week; Li Auto, which raised about $1.3 billion last week; and XPeng, which announced a $2.2 billion stock sale on Wednesday. 

NIO's stock likely traded lower following the news because of investor concerns about the dilutive effect of 60 million (or possibly more) new shares. 

Now what

Auto investors should be clear about this: NIO -- like its rivals -- isn't in urgent need of cash. This is a very different situation from earlier this year, when NIO urgently sought additional investment at a moment when it was close to going broke. 

The company is now in good financial shape, with or without this extra $2.8 billion, but the thinking -- and I think it's wise thinking -- is probably that it's not a bad idea to raise some extra cash at a time when investors are snapping up electric-vehicle stocks. 

The offering is expected to price on Monday.