* Wires $452 million to pay off U.S. DOE loan
* Repays loan using part of almost $1 bln raised in
offerings last week
* Tesla received the loan in 2010 and used it to build Model
* Republicans have criticized the DOE loan program in the
By Ben Klayman
DETROIT, May 22 Electric carmaker Tesla Motors
Inc on Wednesday paid off its U.S. Department of Energy
loan nine years earlier than required, using money raised last
week in a stock and debt offering.
The automaker said on Wednesday that it wired $451.8 million
to repay the full loan with interest.
"I would like to thank the Department of Energy and the
members of Congress and their staffs that worked hard to create
the (Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing) program, and
particularly the American taxpayer from whom these funds
originate," Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said in a statement.
"I hope we did you proud."
Republicans have criticized the Obama administration's
support of new-technology companies, including struggling
automaker Fisker Automotive Inc, as well as
electric battery maker A123 Systems and solar panel maker
Solyndra. Both A123 and Solyndra filed for bankruptcy.
DOE officials heralded the Tesla payoff in a press release.
"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,"
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said.
Moniz said more than 90 percent of the loan loss reserve
Congress established remains intact, while losses represent
about 2 percent of the overall $34 billion portfolio.
DOE first offered loans to Tesla and other automakers in
June 2009, when the companies could not arrange financing
through public markets during the recession.
The DOE's $465 million loan, received in 2010, allowed Tesla
to open its plant in Fremont, California, and build the Model S
electric car, which recently received a near-perfect score from
Consumer Reports magazine and starts at $70,000 before a federal
The payoff was more good news for a company that reported
its first quarterly profit earlier this month.
Musk, a billionaire who owns 27.5 percent of Tesla, said on
Monday that the company would repay the loan.
Tesla was funded privately through its first seven years
after its 2003 founding, and it received the DOE loan as part of
the advanced technology vehicle manufacturing program.
After making payments last year and the first quarter of
this year, Tesla said it repaid the balance of its loan using a
portion of the almost $1 billion raised last week in stock and