It Was a Bumpy Road, But They Made ItTesla Motors was about to by the NUMMI plant in California from Toyota and convert it to Model S production in good parts thanks to a $465 million loan by the Department of Energy. At the time, right after the biggest financial crisis in decades, many didn't believe that Tesla would even survive long enough to build a single Model S, never-mind repay the loan. But since then Tesla has had its IPO which helped it raise a nice sum, and its health has improved thanks to deals with Daimler and Toyota, among other things.
But forward to the present time, and against all the odds, Tesla is about this ship the first Model S electric sedans to customers and Bloomberg news reports that the company will begin repaying its debts by the end of this year:
The maker of Roadster sports cars had $104.5 million left as of March 31 of the Energy Department loans awarded in June 2009, Tesla said in a regulatory filing. The remaining funds will be used by the third quarter, with repayments to begin in December, Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja said.
“We are delivering on the milestones, what we’ve committed to,” Ahuja said yesterday in a phone interview. “Once we are delivering customer cars, then that signifies completion of the project.”
Tesla this week said the first battery-powered Model S sedans will be delivered in June, ahead of its initial July release date.
The Model S is an important milestone in Tesla's strategy of starting at the top of the market (low-volume, expensive electric cars) and moving down over time until they can reach mass-market (high-volume, inexpensive electric cars).