Tesla Motors Plans to Repay DOE’s Auto Loans

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Tesla Motors, one of the largest beneficiaries of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) auto loans, said that it plans to begin repaying the government this year.

Last week, the company revealed more details about the Tesla Model S, an electric sedan that was financed with the DOE’s auto loan. Tesla qualified for $465 million and recently announced that it expects to use the last of that money by the end of the year.

“We are delivering on the milestones, what we’re committed to,” said Tesla’s Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja to Bloomberg. “Once we are delivering customer cars, then that signifies the completion of the project.”

Tesla plans on delivering the highly anticipated Model S in June of this year. As soon as delivery begins, the company will begin making payments to the DOE.

“We are pleased that Tesla continues to make progress and look forward to working with them as clean, electric vehicles play an important role in our energy future,” said Damien LaVera, a spokesman for the DOE.

The DOE auto loan program that Tesla qualified for has been the source for much debate and harsh criticism.

In February of this year, Fisker Automotive, a manufacturer based in Anaheim, California, was blocked from the DOE’s auto loans after it failed to meet milestones required by the DOE. After being prohibited from using the DOE’s funds, Fisker issued harsh criticism of the government-sponsored program.

Additionally, Republicans in Capital Hill, including Mitt Romney—the current Republican front-runner for this year’s presidential election—have described the DOE auto loans as “crony capitalism,” due to what they feel is a waste of money and resources, according to Bloomberg.

The DOE’s auto loan program was meant to grant money at low interest rates to manufacturers interested in creating fuel efficient vehicles.