Tesla pays back $465 million DOE loan 9 years ahead of schedule

We’re willing to bet there are bottles of champagne popping all the way from Washington, DC to Palo Alto, CA…with the announcement that Tesla Motors has, as suspected, paid off the entirety of its $465-million Department of Energy loan.

As far back as July 2012, Tesla began talking about paying the US government back early, but it was apparently the tremendous rise in the company’s stock value recently that prompted CEO Elon Musk to push for the immediate repayment this week. From a price of $33.87 on January 1, TSLA has climbed to $87.24…Last week, Tesla sold enough stock to raise over a billion dollars to repay the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan, with interest. This makes Tesla the first automaker to pay the DOE back, and it did so nine years ahead of schedule…

In a prepared statement, Tesla CEO Elon Musk thanked the DOE and Congress and “particularly the American taxpayer from whom these funds originate. I hope we did you proud.”

The DOE is certainly proud, issuing a release that said the repayment “shows the strength of energy department’s overall loan portfolio.” The DOE has come under fire recently for the loan it gave to Fisker Automotive. Two other ATVM recipients, Nissan and Ford, have not yet paid all theit money back, but there are no apparent worries there, either.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement that, “not every investment will succeed” but that the DOE’s overall $34-Billion loan portfolio of more than 30 loans “is delivering big results for the American economy while costing far less than anticipated…”

The reality is that the DOE investment and loan portfolio performs better than most banks making small business loans. Not that it gets through the lead-based scum encasing the brains of Congressional conservatives and the Tea Party economics school dropouts. Only 2% bad loans is the kind of thing that encourages smiles among the regulatory curmudgeons in our banking industry. Still meaningless to horse-and-buggy populists who haven’t made it beyond lead-based gasoline.

Elon Musk deserves credit for all of his endeavors. He’s doing the health of our nation and the world a favor by setting standards high enough to benefit us all with his electric cars.

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