What happened 

Shares of Workhorse Group (NASDAQ:WKHS), a maker of electric commercial vans and other vehicles, was trading sharply higher on Monday on growing investor interest after two analysts released bullish notes on the thinly covered company last week.

As of 3:15 p.m. EDT, Workhorse's shares were up about 18.7% from Friday's closing price.

So what

Two separate analysts released bullish notes on Workhorse last week.

First, analysts at hedge fund Formidable Asset Management LLC said that they feel Workhorse trades at a "significant discount" to its intrinsic value, given its strong client roster, established presence in an attractive market segment, and key strategic partnerships.

The analysts, noting that Formidable has a long position in Workhorse's shares, said that the company's relationships with United Parcel Service, DHL Worldwide Express, FedEx, and Ryder System have given its technology and products a "key stamp of approval." They also said that the company's 10% in start-up electric-pickup maker Lordstown Motors is a "kicker," as it could be worth over $1 billion in time.

A red Workhorse C650, an electric delivery van

Workhorse's C-Series electric commercial vans are expected to ship later this year. Image source: Workhorse Group.

Separately, last Friday BTIG analyst Gregory Lewis reiterated his prior buy rating on Workhorse's shares while raising his price target to $10 from $5. Lewis noted that the company is close to U.S. government approval to ship its midsize C-Series electric delivery vans, saying that he expects the C-Series to serve as a "springboard" for new fleet orders once they're in production. 

Now what

Not many auto investors had heard of Workhorse until recently, but the company has laid the groundwork for a promising business. Now, with investor attention focused on electric commercial vehicles in the wake of Nikola's public-market debut earlier this month, the company is getting a closer look -- and that's why its stock was up sharply on Monday.