What happened

Nikola (NKLA -3.31%) shares went on a wild ride Thursday, jumping 4.5% in the morning after the electric and hydrogen fuel cell truck maker sealed a deal. But it gave up all of those gains, and some, as the day progressed. As of 1:25 p.m. EDT, the stock was trading 1.4% in the red.

So what

This morning, Nikola announced a deal with PGT Trucking, one of the nation's largest flatbed carriers. Nikola has signed a letter of intent to lease 100 of its Tre fuel cell trucks to PGT after a demonstration, the terms and timing of which are yet to be decided.

Two concerned persons looking at monitors displaying volatile stock price charts.

Image source: Getty Images.

Tre, a daycab, is one of the two hydrogen-powered fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) that Nikola is manufacturing, and it'll be built at its Coolidge facility in Arizona. Nikola expects to start deliveries of Tre FCEV in 2023, and with its anticipated range of 500 miles, the company believes the Tre will help expand PGT's hauling fleet, which serves multiple industries, including steel, oil and gas, aluminum, machinery, and automotive. Until the last quarter, Nikola had built five Tre FCEV alpha prototypes and projected their validation testing to be completed in the fourth quarter this year.

Today's deal marks the second notable deal that Nikola has signed so far this month. Last week, it announced a partnership with energy infrastructure company TC Energy to co-develop and operate multiple large-scale hydrogen production facilities in North America.

Now what

With Nikola's shares languishing ever since its founder Trevor Milton was indicted for fraud in July, a deal or two can spark interest in the automotive stock -- but only momentarily, as we saw today. It'll take a lot more than just potential order announcements from Nikola to convince investors about its prospects. Specifically, Nikola estimated last quarter it could deliver 25-50 road-legal battery-electric Tres this year to start generating revenue, but there's been no update since.

Given the backdrop, the real move in Nikola shares could come around Nov. 4 when the company releases its third-quarter earnings report and provides an update about its delivery timelines. Keep an eye out.