Tesla Motors Inc., the first start-up to satisfy the requirements of the Energy Department’s loan program, is now making use of the last of the $465 million in U.S. loans granted to it. The electric-car company headed by Elon Musk is planning to begin repaying the loans by the end of 2012. As of March 31, it had $104.5 million remaining of the loans granted to it in June 2009 by the Energy Department.
Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja said that the funds left will be spent in the third quarter. Its repayments will start this December. Ahuja said that the company is attaining its milestones, which it has committed to doing. He said that the project is completed when it delivers the customers’ cars.
Last week, Tesla said that deliveries of the first battery-powered Model S sedans will start in June, before its initial July release date. Tesla became successful earlier than the companies that were also awarded the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loans by the Obama administration in 2009.
These include Tesla, Fisker Automotive Inc., Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. Obama had hoped that the loans will create jobs and help a market for autos that use very little or zero gasoline.
The Republican members of congress have criticized the ATVM program, especially with the failure of solar panel maker Solyndra LLC. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, has said that loans to Tesla and Fisker are “crony capitalism.”