What happened

Shares of electric truck maker Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) were up 8% as of noon EST Tuesday. 

The stock has gained more than 20% since the start of the year. 

So what

So far in 2021, Nikola has started to turn around negative sentiment that led to a turbulent year for the stock in 2020. Some reported progress surrounding its new factory and battery-electric trucks has begun to give investors more confidence. Today, Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) and French automaker Renault (OTC:RNSDF) announced a partnership in the hydrogen fuel cell sector that helps legitimize Nikola's plans for utilizing that technology

Nikola truck at hydrogen fueling station.

Image source: Nikola.

Now what

The joint venture announced by Plug Power and Renault is not directly associated with Nikola or its semitrucks. But plans to expand hydrogen fuel cell technology for light commercial vehicles in Europe, including related fueling infrastructure, is positive for Nikola, too. 

While reports of Nikola trucks being commissioned in Arizona only pertain to its battery-electric Tre semitrucks, the long-term investing thesis for Nikola will require success with its hydrogen fuel cell-powered Two model, as well. 

Nikola says it aims to "create a worldwide hydrogen fueling network." News of an established automaker partnering with the maker of hydrogen fuel cells to grow the infrastructure in Europe indicates that Nikola isn't alone in its plans, and gives it more credibility with investors. 

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.