After revealing more details about the Tesla Model S just last week, Tesla Motors said it expected to use the last of its Department of Energy loan by the end of this year.

The company now confirms it also has plans to start paying back the loan this year too--and will be the first company to do so.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Tesla chief financial officer Deepak Ahuja said "We are delivering on the milestones, what we're committed to...once we are delivering customer cars, that signifies completion of the project".

That suggests that Tesla will begin to repay the loan as soon as the first customer has his or her car, and will be a relief to anyone beginning to worry about the viability of the DoE loans.

Several companies have had difficulties meeting the criteria of the loans, including Fisker and Aptera Motors. Some companies, like Coda Automotive, are abandoning DoE loan plans altogether.

Others have closed down after failing to gain funding. The DoE expects loans to be repaid within ten years, and interest rates vary between 0.9 and 3.4 percent. It sets strict criteria for companies to meet, in order to benefit from the loans.

Tesla Motors borrowed $465 million in DoE loans and had $104.5 million left as of March 31. Tesla then confirmed last week, while revealing further details of the Model S's range capabilities, that it would use up the last of that amount by the third quarter of 2012. Elon Musk says the company still expects to turn a profit from 2013 onwards.

The first Model S electric sedans are expected to reach buyers in June. The company claims the Model S will do up to 300 miles at highway speeds, and is offering a prize to the first customer to complete more than 400 miles on a charge.


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