Why do you think they repaid ~$450M so many years ahead of schedule at a time when they were:
1) still burning cash
2) about to enter a period of increased spending knowing gen iii was on the horizon
It's not unreasonable to conclude that after some of the poor underwriting decisions came to light the DOE was under pressure to clean up the loan portfolio. Within that portfolio was tesla, busting covenants left and right, seeking amendments and waivers for their business building $80,000 cars while being unable to meet the conditions of the loan designed to protect taxpayers
Seems like someone at the DOE figured out tsla was headed south but could still raise enough outside capital to pay back the DOE loan.
The DOE loan program is back in business (Alcoa, $250M) as of this morning. Apparently they have $16B available. Keep in mind, this program lent money to fisher (bankrupt), VPG (bankrupt). It's sister program (under the same management) lent money to Solyndra.
Given Elon's desperation for cash and the DOE's willingness to lend money to poor credit risks, I would say there is a very good chance TSLA could get at least $2B from the program (Ford got $6B, Nissan got about $2B)
Hopefully someone in congress will keep an eye on the DOE and prevent them from making a 'loan' of taxpayer dollars to a company that has no cash flow.
Li-ion battery making capital equipment for large format prismatic cells has a very long lead time and is the major bottleneck item when building new capacity. Whether or not it is true to the same extent for cylindrical cells I don't know but it's a good bet there is at least a significant planning constraint. If Panasonic didn't commit to Elon's vision early and order the equipment, it is unlikely they will be able to fulfill their commitment as interpreted by Elon on schedule.
What's your best guess? Below is a straw man to get the discussion going:
I) Convertible Notes
NO: The company already has a substantial amount outstanding ($1.8B) and the stock price is well below where it was at the time the 2019 and 2021 notes were issues in March '14 so investor appetite may be limited due to lower stock price (and of course the asset coverage and total leverage)
YES: converts limit dilution and generate big fees for underwriters (especially since TSLA has entered into a call spread for each previous convertible offering, generating even more fees).
* YES BUT: Could the company call the 2018's early and re-issue more (i.e. call the $660M 2018 and issue $1.2B+ of 2022??). Current 10K doesn't describe call provisions in enough detail to fully analyze.
II) Common stock
NO: Dilution and psychology of sub $200 price
YES: Quick, relatively easy
III) Preferred Stock
NO: seems unlikely for a company this size and stage
YES: company may need to entice investors in order to raise enough capital
IV) Strategic Investment (would take the form of preferred)
NO: Company has already tied up and subsequently dissolved partnerships with Daimler and Toyota (and DOE). BMW has said No. Elon is notoriously unappreciative of partners.
YES: Apple -- not a bad way to tip toe into feeling out an acquisition and coming away with options for their own EV development.
Daimler, not Chrysler
Also, to the list of welfare handed out to TSLA, please add a 'loan' from the DOE at 2.5% interest rate for over $400 million. The money was supposed to be used to build a $40K EV, but TSLA bait and switched after they couldn't execute.