‘Loser’ No More: Tesla Repays $465 Million U.S. Loan
Sam Gustin May 23, 2013
Tesla Motors has done right by U.S. taxpayers.
The fast-growing electric car company has repayed the entire $465 million loan it received from the U.S. Department of Energy, in a vindication for company co-founder Elon Musk, the billionaire mogul and rocket-ship enthusiast. The loan repayment, made nine years ahead of schedule, was completed Wednesday when Tesla wired $451.8 million to the federal government.
Tesla’s loan was part of the government’s 2010 Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, a $25 billion fund authorized by Congress, signed by President George W. Bush, and awarded under President Obama. The loan program, which was separate from the U.S. auto bailouts to GM and Chrysler under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), was designed to get fuel-efficient vehicles to consumers faster.
With its loan payment, made using a portion of the $1 billion it raised last week in a stock and debt offering, Tesla becomes the only American car manufacturer in the DOE program to have fully repaid the government, the company said. “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,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement. “Today, Tesla employs more than 3,000 American workers and is living proof of the power of American innovation.”
The loan repayment is a major victory for Tesla, which was branded as a “loser” company by Mitt Romney during his unsuccessful 2012 Republican presidential campaign. “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 in a statement. “I hope we did you proud.”