What happened

The stock of electric truck start-up Nikola (NKLA -31.46%) has had a rough past 12 months. A short-seller report accused it of exaggerating its technology and progress in developing its electric semi trucks as well as its hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Hesitant investors walked away, and the stock has dropped 75% since last summer. But as the company began reporting updates on its business, shares jumped more than 29% in the month of May, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

So what

Two items of news from the company came in the first week of the month, and shares steadily rose from there. On May 6, Nikola announced a collaboration with a Southern California trucking and logistics company that serves port operations. The agreement calls for vehicle trials by the company, and a plan to potentially order 100 Nikola battery-electric vehicle (BEV) and fuel-cell electric vehicle semi trucks.

Nikola Two fuel cell electric semi truck and trailer.

Nikola Two fuel cell electric semi truck. Image source: Nikola.

More substantial news came the following day when Nikola released its first-quarter business and financial update. It told investors that it was on track to complete several previously announced goals. 

Now what

Nikola said its Arizona manufacturing plant construction is on track, and it reiterated that it plans to ship the first Nikola Tre BEVs to customers during the fourth quarter of 2021. The company is in the process of commissioning the first batch of five Tre BEVs and had another eight already built at Nikola's Ulm, Germany facility. They are in various stages of testing and are either at the Arizona facility or on the way. 

Nikola also told investors it expects to break ground on its first commercial hydrogen station this year as well, and to name additional hydrogen infrastructure and ecosystem partners. The company's hydrogen fuel strategy could also get a boost from an agreement between President Biden and Republicans on an infrastructure bill. Spending for renewable energy and electric vehicle development was part of Biden's initial proposal. 

As negotiations continue to progress on an infrastructure plan, Nikola shares rose further at the end of the month. Though the company reported progress in the month of May, Nikola is still pre-revenue, and investors should still be sure to include any investment in the speculative portion of a portfolio.