What happened

Shares of Hyliion Holdings (HYLN -1.80%), the maker of electrified powertrain solutions for Class 8 commercial vehicles that began trading Oct. 1, suffered a steep sell-off Tuesday, closing the day down 9.2%.  

Glowing red stock chart arrow trending down

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Hyliion became public after its reverse-merger IPO into an already-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Tortoise Acquisition. But there was no news about the company today aside from a report in Barron's saying that more EV companies similar to Hyliion are coming to market soon.  

But even that modest observation may have been enough to spark a sell-off, as investors worry that a new crop of bright, shiny objects may distract investors from Hyliion stock. It is already up more than 150% from what shares of its acquirer, Tortoise, cost a year ago, and it may have run out of room to run higher.

Now what

The Barron's article didn't speak of these EV SPACs in particularly glowing terms, observing that "none of them have any real revenue." (Hyliion's own trailing-12-month revenue, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, is zero, with a $17.2 million net loss.)

For that matter, even Tortoise, the company that bought Hyliion, may have spoken presciently. When that deal was announced back in June, Tortoise representatives boasted that their new prize was "directly comparable to" EV stock Nikola (NKLA -1.37%).

And that might be what investors are afraid of. Since topping out near $80 a share in June, Nikola stock has lost 74% of its market value. Hyliion shares are down only 58% from their own peak, hit in September, and they could still have further to fall.