What happened

Shares of electric vehicle start-up Nikola (NKLA -0.40%) are down more than 80% from June 2020 highs after the company was called out for exaggerations and potential falsehoods about its business plans. But over the last week, the stock has jumped more than 15%, including a gain of 6.9% on Monday. 

So what

What seems to have changed for investors (besides the price) is that the company actually appears to be making progress on its previous promises. Along with a letter of intent for sales of 100 trucks, the company revealed it continues to work to make hydrogen fuel a real potential growth engine for the truck maker. 

Nikola Two hydrogen fuel cell semi truck

Nikola Two hydrogen fuel cell truck. Image source: Nikola.

Now what

Nikola has released several items of interest for investors in recent weeks. Earlier this month, in its first-quarter financial report, Nikola said its Arizona factory construction is on track, and it reiterated that it plans to ship the first Nikola Tre battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to customers during the fourth quarter of 2021.

But perhaps more important were statements on the progress of its hydrogen-fueled truck program. In mid-April, Nikola and two partners announced their plans to grow the deployment of hydrogen infrastructure and fueling solutions throughout Germany. And in the first-quarter update, the company said it expects to break ground on its first commercial hydrogen station this year, and to name additional hydrogen infrastructure and ecosystem partners.

Investors might think the risk/reward balance has come to the point where owning shares is a worthwhile bet on the growth of a hydrogen economy that has real potential. But investors should also be aware that the bet is still mostly just speculation at this stage.