What happened

Shares of automotive stocks tied to the electric vehicle (EV) revolution powered higher in Wednesday afternoon trading, with General Motors (NYSE:GM) up a strong 4.9%, electric-truck maker Workhorse Group (NASDAQ:WKHS) coming along for the ride with a 7.8% gain, and tiny FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL) rushing ahead a mind-boggling 28.6% through 12:50 p.m. EST.

In the absence of any notable news about Workhorse or FuelCell today, though, I think credit for much of these gains has to go to GM.

Three colorful arrows racing straight up on a black background

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Today's automotive news is being headlined with reports about GM's deal to build electric pickup trucks using Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) technology, and these reports are referring to a posting on GM's website referencing the giant automaker's agreement with its smaller partner. What investors may be overlooking about that announcement, though, are its final six little words:  

"The transaction has not yet closed."

While Nikola reassured Bloomberg earlier today that it has "nothing new" to report about the GM partnership, and while that reassurance is driving up Nikola's stock price by about 16% today, to me, Nikola's statement just reaffirms what GM just said -- and with possibly ominous overtones: This deal is not yet set in stone.  

Now what

Meanwhile, other comments by GM on its website may be giving additional hope to investors elsewhere in the renewable energy industry. They may be particularly encouraging to investors hoping to see wider use of electric cars and trucks, including those incorporating fuel cell technology -- investors in stocks like Workhorse and FuelCell Energy.

On this point, GM states that the Badger, if it gets produced, will use its Ultium battery system. The company also notes that Nikola's long-haul trucks -- if they get produced -- will incorporate GM's "Hydrotec fuel cells globally ... except in Europe." So it seems that GM is ramping up its efforts both in batteries and in fuel cells.

Combined with other news of "a new fully electric" Cadillac, partnerships with Honda to develop "future electric vehicles that will leverage our Ultium battery system," and partnerships on electric charging stations and in EV rideshare, it's getting clearer than ever that GM is fully committed to an electric future -- and that could provide coattails to pull the rest of the industry along with it.

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.