Despite electric vehicle skeptics and criticism of government funding to automakers in general, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced his plan to halve the time it will take to pay back its loan to the Department of Energy.
Tesla has ten years to pay back the $465 million loan from 2009, but the new plan will have it paid off in less than five years. Tesla has already started making payments, with the first one of $12.7 million sent in at the end of last year. The second one will be made by the end of March 2013.
Tesla has gone from a small-scale electric car maker to a bustling business that’s already producing a second vehicle, the Model S, at a rate of 20,000 cars a year at the Fremont, California factory. Musk has said the company will turn a profit for the first time in 2013, and he is confident that the profits will continue.
One of the most significant points he made is that he hopes the Department of Energy will get praise for the success of loaning money to Tesla, especially after all the negative attention received by the high profile Solyndra failure. There will always be people who will doubt the potential of a company getting involved in expensive new technology, but if Tesla makes enough of a profit to pay back a loan in half the time, the numbers will begin to speak for themselves.