The California Energy Commission has awarded a $10 million grant to electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. to finance the acquisition of assembly equipment and the hiring of 500 workers to build a rechargeable sports utility vehicle in the State of California. The California Energy Commission awarded the funds to reimburse Tesla for machinery bought to equip its assembly plant in Fremont, California to produce the battery-powered Model X crossover, according to Alison Roberts, a spokeswoman for the agency. She added that Tesla is allocating $50.2 million for the project and adding the jobs to qualify for the $10 million grant, which was funded by vehicle registration fees. Christina Ra, spokeswoman for Tesla, remarked that the development of Model X is under way and that the electric SUV is scheduled to go into production in 2014.
Tesla’s Fremont factory currently employs more than 1,500 people for producing Model S sedans, lithium-ion battery packs and electric motors. Tesla managed to raise around $200 million in fresh funds through a secondary stock offering last week. The electric carmaker also announced its plans to make an early payment on U.S. Energy Department loans it received in 2009 to develop and build the Model S.
Tesla chief executive Telon Musk said that the carmaker plans to be "cash flow positive" as early as November 2012, and to be profitable by 2013. On September 25, 2012, Tesla disclosed that its plans to deliver about 3,000 units of the Model S, down from an initial goal of 5,000. The Tesla Model S is available for a starting price of $57,400.