What happened 

It's been a wild week for Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA). According to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, shares were up a whopping 30.8% in the first four days of this week, but have fallen 9.2% in just the first few minutes of trading on Friday. Volatility continues with this electric vehicle (EV) start-up, and it looks like that will continue for a while. 

So what 

Nikola reported earnings on Thursday, and as a company that's pre-revenue, the results weren't anything to write home about. The company lost $267.6 million in the quarter, and losses will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

An electric semi truck being charged.

Image source: Getty Images.

What was notable was management announcing that Nikola will deliver "up to 25 Tre BEV trucks" by the end of 2021. Testing is underway, and the trucks may actually hit the road soon. Hydrogen-powered trucks that are under development also seem to be inching their way forward. 

Now what 

Despite all of the distractions over the last few years, Nikola's foundation was always disrupting the trucking market with hydrogen- or battery-powered semi trucks. The Tre could do that with an estimated 350-mile range and only a two-hour charge time, according to the company. Hydrogen could be even more effective in trucking with similar refueling times to diesel and the potential to be made with 100% renewable energy.

There are still a lot of unknowns for Nikola, like whether or not the company will be able to build reliable trucks, and we don't know if or when operations will be profitable. For now, it was enough to make progress toward launching trucks, and that's why the stock is up big so far this week. 

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.