Stocks got off to a good start in August, as major market benchmarks kept climbing. As we've seen often in recent months, the Nasdaq Composite led the way higher, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 also managed to post solid gains.

Today's stock market

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI)

+0.89%

+236

S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC)

+0.72%

+23

Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC)

+1.47%

+158

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Electric vehicles continue to inspire a loyal group of investors, and between existing giants and up-and-coming newer players on the EV scene, there's been a lot of speculation about just how important a market the industry could become. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and its 4% rise played the most important role in giving the Nasdaq a boost, but gains of more than 20% for both Workhorse Group (NASDAQ:WKHS) and Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) showed the breadth of interest in the sector.

Workhorse gets a win

Shares of Workhorse Group were up 23%. The stock rose not because of its own operations, but because of an ownership stake it has in another entity.

Lordstown Motors is a privately held company that was established to take over operation of the former General Motors (NYSE:GM) plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The company has worked to develop electric pickup trucks, and it announced that it would go public through a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company. As a result, Lordstown shares will be available through what's currently called DiamondPeak Holdings (NASDAQ:DPHC) -- which also jumped more than 20%.

White Workhorse electric van on a cobblestone street with buildings nearby.

Image source: Workhorse Group.

Workhorse owns a 10% stake in Lordstown. As a result of the merger, Workhorse's shares should rise in value. Moreover, access to more capital should give Lordstown an edge in moving more quickly toward production, at which point Workhorse can expect to start receiving earnings royalty income on intellectual property licensed to Lordstown. That's good news for everyone, and it gives Workhorse more credibility at a critical time for the company.

Nikola gets a vote of confidence

Elsewhere, Nikola shares got a 21% boost. The company benefited from favorable comments from prominent financial analysts.

The positive press came from Deutsche Bank, which put the electric-semitruck maker on its buy list pending Nikola's release of quarterly financials on Tuesday. The analysts are hopeful that Nikola will offer more information about its Badger passenger pickup truck, such as how the company intends to have the truck manufactured and how many people have reserved vehicles through preorders.

Nikola has had a rough ride lately. After announcing that its warrants would be available for redemption into shares, the stock plunged precipitously. Now, though, excitement about electric vehicles is once again starting to take hold.

Investors need to understand that EV auto stocks will remain extremely volatile, especially during the period in which small upstarts aren't yet producing vehicles. The promise of the industry is undeniable, however, and that's why shareholders are hoping to get in on the ground floor.

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.