What happened

Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) aiming to capitalize on the popularity of renewable energy by buying start-up electric vehicle (EV) companies got routed last week. It was collateral damage of a short attack against one of their peers, Nikola.

Today, however, at least a couple of these soon-to-be-public EV companies are executing U-turns. At the close today, shares of Spartan Energy Acquisition (NYSE:SPAQ), the SPAC that aims to bring EV maker Fisker public, were up 14.5%. DiamondPeak Holdings (NASDAQ:DPHC), the SPAC that will attempt to IPO electric pickup maker Lordstown Motors through a reverse merger, did almost as well, up 13.5%.

But Tortoise Acquisition (NYSE:SHLL), which wants to bring electric semi-truck maker Hyliion public, closed 9.9% lower.

Cartoon of a yellow car plugged into an electric charging station

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

I really see only one catalyst affecting the shares today, and it comes from an unexpected source: the website OilPrice.com.

In a report out Saturday, the site broke from its usual focus on oil to discuss a new report out of mining research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie. The consultant described trends in EV production, and how they might affect demand for lithium for electric car batteries over the next five to ten years.

In discussing lithium demand, Wood Mackenzie said that it sees acceptance of EVs growing worldwide, and so it's bring its forecast for EVs forward by 10 years and sees them making up around 40% of passenger car sales by 2030.

Now what

Spartan and DiamondPeak, the SPACs that saw their share prices go up today, are trying to take passenger-car companies public. Spartan's Fisker builds electric sports cars, while DiamondPeak's Lordstown wants to build electric pickups.

But Tortoise is buying Hyliion, a maker of electrified powertrains for heavy trucks, not the EV segment that Wood Mackenzie says is going to make up 40% of the market within 10 years.

I don't know if that distinction was a good reason for investors to sell Tortoise Acquisition shares today, but it certainly seems like a good reason to feel optimistic about Spartan Energy and DiamondPeak Holdings.