US: Tesla pays back big Federal loan early
Tesla's Federal loan repayment is more positive news for the fledgling electric car maker. It recently raised its forecast for Model S car deliveries this year to 21,000 units.
Tesla Motors has announced that it has paid off the entire loan awarded to the company by the US Department of Energy in 2010.
Tesla said in a statement that in addition to earlier payments in 2012 and early 2013, a wire of almost half a billion dollars (US$451.8m) “repays the full loan facility with interest”. It added that following this payment, “Tesla will be the only American car company to have fully repaid the government”.
The US government's loans to 'green' car company start-ups have been the subject of political controversy in the US with some politicians criticising the public funding support for businesses, such as Fisker, that have not been successful. However, the Obama administration will seize on the Tesla loan repayment as a vindication of the policy.
Energy Department secretary Earnest Moniz hailed Tesla's repayment as proof that the loan programme has been worthwhile. "Today, Tesla employs more than 3,000 American workers and is living proof of the power of American innovation," he said in a statement. "This is another important contribution to what the Obama Administration has done to preserve and promote America's auto industry."
However, the Tesla claim that it is the only US maker to have fully repaid the federal loan early was disputed by Chrysler. In a posting on Chrysler's communications website entitled 'Not Eactly, Tesla', Gualberto Ranieri, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications at Chrysler disputed the Tesla claim.
The posting said: “The information is unmistakably incorrect. It’s pretty well-known that almost exactly two years ago – May 24, 2011 – Chrysler Group LLC repaid (in full and with interest) U.S. and Canadian government loans more than six years ahead of schedule. Question: short memory or short-circuit?”
Tesla recently announced its first quarterly profit and raised its forecast for Model S sales this year.
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