In 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a $465 million loan to Tesla Motors, the California-based electric car manufacturer founded in 2003. The loan was a part of the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program, and was used as a political talking point last month by former conservative Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. Palin had used the loan as an example of "crony capitalism" by the Obama administration and called Tesla a "loser," despite the fact that the loan program had been signed into law by former Republican President George W. Bush.
Now it appears that Sarah Palin will have to eat crow, as Tesla has repaid the entire government loan nine years early.
Tesla today announced that it has paid off the loan with one final, huge payment of $451.8 million. The funds were paid out of nearly $1 billion in funding that was raised in Tesla common stock and convertible senior note offerings this month. The company now employs more than 3,000 U.S. citizens.
“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," said U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
The loan repayment is yet more good news for Tesla investors. Earlier this month, the car company's Tesla Model S car was given a 99 out of 100 score in Consumer Reports - the highest rating the publication has ever given a car.
“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,” said Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla. “I hope we did you proud.”
(Image courtesy Tesla Motors)