What happened

Many start-up companies in the electric vehicle (EV) sector have encountered headwinds for their business plans -- and with investors -- in recent months. Today, however, investors in Nikola (NKLA 1.67%), Workhorse Group (WKHS -0.03%), and Lordstown Motors (RIDE 1.88%) are finding reasons to buy. As of 1:25 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, shares of the aspiring EV makers rose as follows:

  • Nikola up 5.8%
  • Workhorse Group up 11.1%
  • Lordstown Motors up 5.8%

So what 

There is no company-specific news today moving shares higher. But these companies have more in common than just being EV companies with business plans and no products ready for sale.

red Nikola Two electric semi truck on the road

Nikola Two electric semi truck. Image source: Nikola.

Nikola and Lordstown have both been the subject of short-seller reports from Hindenburg Research questioning their legitimacy. And Workhorse Group was all but given up for dead after the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced in February the company wouldn't receive a 10-year, multibillion-dollar contract to modernize its fleet to new-generation, energy-efficient delivery trucks. But after months of declines in the stocks, investors today seem to be focusing on the potential bright side of the businesses. 

Now what

Lordstown and Workhorse shares are both down more than 50% year to date. After the aforementioned USPS contract news, Workhorse shares plunged about 50% in a single day.

Lordstown investors have had more recent bad news. Earlier this week, in its first financial update since the short-seller report came out, the company didn't exactly generate investor confidence. In one positive comment, the company did confirm that it still plans production of its Endurance pickup truck by the end of September. But it also said volume would be "at best" 50% of previous estimates. In addition, the company said it is seeking to raise additional capital to fund its start-up plans. Shares have rebounded since that report on Monday, but the stock is still down 18% in the past week. 

Nikola gave investors a bit more reason for optimism in its first-quarter 2021 results, reported on May 7. The company basically confirmed progress on several fronts. It said construction of its Arizona factory is on track, and Nikola reiterated that it plans to ship the first Nikola Tre battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to customers during the fourth quarter of 2021.

A lot of bad news and pessimism have already impacted these stocks' prices. These are all speculative investments, but some investors seem to think now might be a good point to make that bet. There will be much volatility in these names as the companies attempt to successfully ramp up their businesses. Today's moves happen to be to the upside.