What happened

As Tuesday morning turns into Tuesday afternoon, stock market investors remain enthusiastic about electric vehicles. Indeed, their enthusiasm is taking something of a surprising turn.

As of 12:50 p.m. EST, shares of Chinese Li Auto electric car maker Li Auto (NASDAQ:LI) are up 8.6% and ElectraMeccanica Vehicles (NASDAQ:SOLO) -- which makes a three-wheeled electric car in China for sale in America -- is up 10.3%. Beating both of these better-known stocks, though, is a small-cap maker of "autonomous aerial vehicles" -- flying electric cars -- called EHang Holdings (NASDAQ:EH).

EHang EH216 AAVs in flight.

Image source: EHang Holdings.

So what

There's little obvious news to explain why investors are bidding up shares of Li or ElectraMeccanica today. Absent any analyst upgrades, price target hikes, or press releases from the companies themselves, my best guess is that today's rebound in the share price at Tesla is just giving investors in electric cars in general more confidence in the sector.

Now what

Now about that third "EV" company though: EHang Holdings. Here, we do have a bit of news to hang today's stock price rally on. This morning EHang announced that it has begun to offer what it calls "urban air mobility" services in Zhuhai, China.  

In partnership with the Zhuhai Da Heng Qin Pan-Tourism Development Co. and Zhuhai Huafa Sports Operations Management Co., EHang is offering aerial sightseeing trips aboard its autonomous aerial vehicles (AAVs) above the Hengqin New Area island in Guangdong Province. On Jan. 8, a fleet of EH216 AAVs carried a total of 36 passengers on sightseeing trips in a demonstration of "centralized management of simultaneous flights of multiple AAVs," the company reports.

And this could be just the start of EHang's business. Hengqin New Area Deputy Secretary Li Weihui, said in EHang's release that "this new style of intelligent air mobility will have more and better uses" in the future. For a company that's already grown its revenue more than five times in less than three years, tiny EHang looks to be well on its way to becoming the biggest name in robot-piloted air taxis -- at least in China.

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.