What happened

Shares of VectoIQ Acquisition (NASDAQ:VTIQ) were up again on Tuesday, as the company closed in on its much-anticipated merger with electric heavy-truck maker Nikola Motors.

As of 11:45 a.m. EDT today, VectoIQ's shares were up about 20.6% from Monday's closing price, and up about 86% since the beginning of May.

So what

VectoIQ is a holding company led by former General Motors vice chairman Steve Girsky. It has no real business of its own, but it has drawn a lot of interest from auto investors lately because of its plan to merge with Nikola Motors. VectoIQ's stock has had an especially strong run in the last few sessions, after the company confirmed in a series of regulatory filings that the merger is on track to close in early June. 

The real investor interest here is in Nikola, and it's well justified. It has emerged from a crowded field of electric-vehicle start-ups with real products that have considerable market potential. 

A white Nikola tractor-trailer truck.

Nikola aims to start production of its battery-electric heavy trucks next year. Image source: Nikola Motors.

The company is developing two different electric tractor-trailer trucks: one powered by hydrogen fuel cells, the other by batteries, using a proprietary new battery technology developed by the company. It also has an electric pickup truck on the drawing board, and is seeking an automaker partner to put it into production. 

Nikola plans to put the battery-powered truck into production next year, with the fuel-cell version following about two years later. Both have attracted a lot of interest from big-rig fleet operators: Nikola has over 14,000 pre-orders, representing around $10 billion in potential revenue.

Now what

All eyes will be on VectoIQ (and Nikola) on June 2, when VectoIQ will hold a special meeting of shareholders to vote on the merger transaction. If approved (which seems very, very likely), the merger will close soon after. 

The combined company will take the Nikola name, and its stock ticker symbol will change to NKLA.