Tesla Promotes DOE Loans, Asks For More Money

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Electric automaker Tesla Motors posted a blog post on its website earlier this week detailing how the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Program had helped it expand and prepare not just one but many electric cars for the market. 

The blog post was designed to help rally support for the ATVM low-interest loans, which despite helping many automaker bring zero or low-emissions vehicles to market could be in jeopardy under increasing pressure from the Republican party. 

But Tesla isn’t just speaking out in defense of a scheme which helped it get to where it is today: it wants more money.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Palo Alto-based firm has recently filed another low-interest loan application under the scheme -- although company officials have declined to detail just how much Tesla has asked for. 

UPDATE: Tesla's Ricardo Reyes contacted us over the paragraph below, to point out that the company has said it has enough cash on hand to finish development of both the upcoming 2012 Model S and the subsequent Model X crossover.

The requested loan, Reyes said, is to help the company "build increasingly affordable electric vehicles," but he gave no other details.

At the moment no-one outside the company knows what the money will be used for, but we’d like to guess it has something to do with either the 2012 Model S due to be unveiled in a few weeks’ time -- or the Model X crossover SUV Tesla aims to make for 2014

Just like any other applicant, Tesla Motors will have to prove that it is a good recipient of the loan and will have not only the ability to pay it back but also to survive without official funding from the DOE. 


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Comments (31)
  1. "Just like any other applicant, Tesla Motors will have to prove that it is a good recipient of the loan and will have not only the ability to pay it back but also to survive without official funding from the DOE. "
    Sure they will - ever heard of Solyndra Corp? How about Evergreen? I thought Tesla had planned another stock offering. What happened to that? So far, "green" Fed subsidies have wasted tens of billions on failed companies that everyone on Wall Street knew were going to fail.
    I believe Tesla will succeed, at least to the extent that they can repay the loans, but let's not have the braindead boobs in this administration put the taxpayers last in line if bankruptcy occurs, as they did in the Solyndra, Evergreen and other cases

  2. I'm with you on one thing, I do think Tesla is the strongest EV startup company. So far they seem to be the only company capable of building electric cars with a 200+ mile range.

  3. @ KB
    "tens of billions"... Evidence? What companies outside Solyndra and Evergreen, given that their losses are nowhere near $5 billion, much less tens of billions.

  4. if the taxpayer is gonna pay for this, we should and could have a more effective system.

    what we need is to get evs on the road. we should fund only a few companies, and only one model per company.

    those funds should be accounted for by a taxpayer agent

    and a good percentage of the funds would go towards bringing the cost of the ev in line with the ices.

    with one model per company, they could create efficiency and supply much more effectively and quickly.

    as it is, the money all goes into a black box, and who knows where it ends up.

  5. The money doesn't go into a "black box". The DOE conditions parts of the loan on meeting specific milestones. This loan is likely for mass-manufacturing a "more affordable" car in high volumes, targeted at the mass-market. That's exactly what you want, isn't it?

  6. The sales projections by the auto industry itself show that the "mass market" doesn't exist, because of the limited appeal of EV's with current technology. If the market did exist, Tesla wouldn't need to go to the government for money - they'd get it from the same venture capitalists in Silicone Valley that made the principals of Tesla mega billionaires.

  7. Whose sales projections are you talking about? I haven't heard anything like that!

    Elon Musk just repeated that Tesla plans a $30k EV for 2015/2016, and rest assured Tesla will use "advanced technology" (the official purpose of the loan program) more and better than anyone else to achieve a good range at that good price. The combination of which, mostly everyone agrees, is exactly what will significantly increase the appeal of EVs for a larger market.

  8. The market model assumption of "perfect knowledge" is obviously usually false, and is definitively so in the case of "venture capital". Which already, btw, has quite a lot of skin in the TeslaMotors game.

    2 months on, the market is assessing TM's chances of following thru on its projections more and more favorably, with a few analysts targetting the stock for levels at double or triple current prices, already up about 30%+ in a month.

    So even the DOE is sometimes right.

  9. yes, that would be nice. i dont trust tesla, though.

    hasnt tesla already received money from the taxpayers ? that money should have been spent developing a more affordable car in high volumes, targeted at the mass market.

  10. Do you trust anyone?

    Also regarding your previous post, the ATVM program (which I think was initiated by the Bush administration) consists of loans which each recipient has to pay back by a certain date. They are for specific projects, not for "a company", as you seem to think (like the bailout GM received to avoid bankruptcy).

    The program is not at all limited to only one model. Ford has received $5.9 billion, for 19 different models. Nissan received $1.4 billion, and Chrysler is apparently applying for a $3.5 billion loan under this program.

    Tesla has a loan so far for about half a billion, specifically for the Model S (with known price), and for power trains. Tesla progressively targets lower price ranges for each new generation.

  11. i have much more faith in coda, in terms of honesty.

    i think musk is the typical big-talker type of personality. the type that will say whatever he needs to say if it helps him get what he wants.

    for each new generation ? they have one car out with a ridiculous price tag, and that is being discontinued.

    i think it is putting the cart before the horse to speak of the model s as a generation. the car is not even for sale yet.

    but i would not have given them a red cent for the model s. we need cars like the ford focus that can reach the average joe.

  12. musk already deceived the cities of long beach and downey. and before that, a city in northern california.

    one thing you can count on is that musk will come out of the situation for himself with flying colors.

    he is your typical salesman, able to con people. i have lived enough life to have seen enough.

    most people get into trouble when they ignore the writing on the wall. that writing for tesla has been on the wall for a long time.

  13. Re comments 9/24 6:58 and 7:03 PDT (which probably don't have a reply button due to the nesting level):

    In hindsight it appears as if you were just waiting for an opportunity to unload this surprising combination of seemingly analytical thought and ad hominem, starting at least with your "i dont trust" remark. Since both come without substance, there is not much to respond to, other than to ask whether this is really your image of a "typical salesman" (kind of suggests to me you are one yourself). Given his success at that level, probably the next step would be to say he qualifies for president, and make that sound like an insult as well.

  14. If the feds can give huge welfare cheques to bankrupt companies like GM and Chrysler and then allow GM to take that money and create jobs in China and Chrysler in Italy; why can't the feds give a huge welfare cheque to Tesla, say a billion dollars...they will take that welfare cheque and create jobs here in America, and Tesla has the best electric car in the world, shouldn't that be worth something?

  15. norbert,

    your comments seem to come out of left field. i gave you my reasons for not trusting him - his overall personality buildup, and his DECEPTION of the various cities.

    your view of musk does not match the typical view of him. so it seems somewhat silly to market your view of him as some sort of standard.

  16. The use of the word "typical", as seen in previous messages, is obviously more than questionable. Trying to patronize me, and using all caps, only adds tot he general impression of ordinary badmouthing. Not that you would necessarily know what you are doing, though...

  17. you must be new to forums, or simply dont know what you are talking about. "using all caps" (as you posted) refers to the entire post in caps.

    what i did was to emphasize one word.

    this is my last post to you.

    time will tell about musk and tesla.

  18. I'm definitely not used to forums where caps are used for entire posts.

  19. the bottom line for me is that we need more cars like the leaf and focus for sale - so as to reach the masses.

    if at that time we also have a tesla for the well-to-do -- i dont care.

  20. You seem to want to reverse the normal order of technological progression. Computers, cell phones, flat panel TV's, all started out far to expensive for the masses, early adopters paid the premium, and as time went on and technology progressed prices dropped and more and more people could afford them. You want cutting edge technology to be cheap right out of the box, and that's just not how it works, ever.

  21. i know exactly how it works, and i have stated such many times.

    re-read my post and you will see that your reply misses the point.

    WHAT I SAID is that i want leafs and focuses to be FOCUSED ON. not bmws and rolls royces.

    teslas are way more expensive than is the leaf or focus. and they always will be, because they are targeting themselves for the wealthy buyer.

    if there is one thing that i have been preaching here is that prices will remain high until supply catches up with demand.

    that means the leaf, the focus, the coda (when it comes out), and the tesla are all more expensive today - because as you said about new technology.

    however, when prices come down, the tesla will still be more expensive than the others.

  22. put another way, the teslas on the road wont do a thing by themselves to get us out of oil. cuz there will only ever be a smidgeon of them compared to a leaf, etc.

    how many rolls royces are there on the road when compared to the bug in its heyday ?

    i would be more up with tesla if they had not lied to various cities, and they were developing a car that would be targeting the masses.

  23. This information is false, with baseless speculation added. The 2012 Leaf with fast charging port will be about $30k, the same as the target price for Tesla's third generation car. The electric Ford Focus is also expected to be in that range (maybe a few thousand less).

  24. Actually the 2012 LEAF is going to be $35K.

  25. That's probably without fast charging, and without tax rebate.

  26. All LEAF's now come with the fast charge port.

  27. There are more comments in this thread
  28. It seems the subject of this article is a misunderstanding altogether: Tesla added this to the "blog post" mentioned at the beginning of this article:

    "Note: Inaccurate press stories state that Tesla has applied for another ATVM loan. Those reports are wrong. Tesla has no pending applications before the DOE."

  29. @Norbert: Very odd. That statement wasn't there when we wrote the article, and in fact Ricardo Reyes, head of Tesla communications, discussed the new application with me. I have asked Tesla for an explanation.

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