Finally, some good news for beleaguered electric vehicle startup Tesla Motors. Only a day after CEO Elon Musk wrote a long blog post defending himself and his company against rumors and accusations, Tesla has been awarded approval for $465 million in U.S. Department of Energy loans as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program. It’s a good thing Tesla got the loans–the company has been banking on receiving them for two years.
The loans guarantee that Tesla can build a California manufacturing facility for its Model S sedan, an all-electric car scheduled to go into production in 2011. The car will sell for approximately $45,000 after a $7,500 government tax credit. $365 million of the government loans will go toward the Model S factory, and another $100 million will assist Tesla in setting up a manufacturing facility for battery packs and electric drive trains. None of the loans will assist Tesla in production of its first vehicle, the Roadster, but the company anticipates that the high-end electric sports car will become profitable in the third quarter of this year.
Tesla wasn’t the only car company to receive coveted government loans today. Ford received $5.9 billion to retool five manufacturing plants for fuel-efficient vehicles and Nissan North America received $1.6 billion to retool its Smyrna, Tennessee plant for electric cars and battery manufacturing. The DOE is still working with GM and Chrysler on their loan applications.