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by Tim Beissmann


Tesla Motors has paid off the remaining portion of the loan granted to it by the US Department of Energy in 2010.

The California-based electric vehicle manufacturer transferred US$451.8 million ($464.0 million) this week to clear its debt with the government, plus interest, following earlier payments in 2012 and the beginning of 2013.

Tesla was awarded a loan of US$465 million ($478 million) under the government’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program three years ago, and in settling its debt this week has paid back the loan nine years earlier than originally required.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed the final loan payment was made using a part of the circa-US$1 billion ($1.03 billion) in funds raised in last week’s offering of common stock and convertible senior bonds.

“I would like to thank the Department of Energy and the members of Congress and their staffs that worked hard to create the ATVM program, and particularly the American taxpayer from whom these funds originate,” Musk said.

“I hope we did you proud.”


Automotive News reports Tesla shares finished up 6.4 per cent at US$92.85 ($95.35) following the announcement. The price has boomed 168 per cent since March 1 – a reflection of the company’s first ever quarterly profit and positive reviews of its new Model S luxury sports model.

US Energy secretary Ernest Moniz said Tesla’s loan repayment was proof the government’s ATVM program had helped stimulate the industry.

“When you’re talking about cutting-edge clean energy technologies, not every investment will succeed – but today’s repayment is the latest indication that the Energy Department’s portfolio of more than 30 loans is delivering big results for the American economy while costing far less than anticipated,” Moniz said.

“The Department first offered loans to Tesla and other auto manufacturers in June 2009, when car companies couldn’t get other financing and many people questioned whether the industry would survive. Today, Tesla employs more than 3000 American workers and is living proof of the power of American innovation.

“This announcement is also good news for the future of America’s growing electric vehicle industry. While the market has taken longer than predicted to get going, sales of electric vehicles in the US tripled last year and are continuing to increase rapidly in 2013. Tesla and other US manufacturers are in a strong position to compete for this growing global market.”