What happened

Shares of electric truck manufacturing start-up Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ:NKLA) put it in first and stomped on the gas this morning, roaring nearly 6% higher in early trading before coasting into 11:30 a.m. EDT still up 4.7%.

You can thank investment bank Cowen & Co. for this -- because Cowen just gave Nikola stock its first rating on Wall Street.  

Nikola Badger concept pickup.

Nikola's Badger electric pickup goes on sale for pre-order June 29. Image source: Nikola.

So what

Initiating coverage of the electric-semi truck company with a buy rating, Cowen argued that Nikola is actually "more than a truck company" -- or perhaps more precisely, more than just a truck company.

Nikola has a "truck platform," true, but it also has developed power train options that could permit the company to evolve in different directions over time: into pickups for example (you've probably heard about that one), but also into powersports and autonomous vehicles as well. Nikola's decision to build both pure electric trucks and also trucks powered in part by hydrogen fuel cells means, in Cowen's estimation, that Nikola can expect to derive about 50% of its revenue stream from sources that are "fuel related." Presumably this means both fuel sales and revenue from developing and/or operating a fueling infrastructure.

Additionally, Cowen argues that Nikola's move to partner with another automotive manufacturer to develop its Badger pickup de-risks the stock to some extent.

Now what

In short, Cowen is the first analyst on Wall Street to declare Nikola stock an "intriguing investment opportunity." The analyst is attaching a $79 price target on the $65 stock (i.e. about 21% upside), according to StreetInsider.com.

We'll see how close Nikola can get to that on June 29, when the company is due to release additional details on the Badger, and begin taking pre-orders from customers.  

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.