LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car company led by Elon Musk, is using the last of its $465 million in U.S. loans and plans to start repaying them by the end of the year, the first startup to fulfill requirements of the criticized program.
The maker of Roadster sports cars had $104.5 million left as of March 31 of the Energy Department loans awarded in June 2009, Tesla said in a regulatory filing. The remaining funds will be used in the third quarter, with repayments to begin in December, Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja said.
"We are delivering on the milestones, what we've committed to," Ahuja said today in a phone interview. "Once we are delivering customer cars, then that signifies completion of the project."
Tesla this week said the first battery-powered Model S sedans will be delivered in June, ahead of its initial July release date. That's an early success among the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loans the Obama administration awarded in 2009 to Tesla, Fisker Automotive Inc., Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. to spur jobs and a market for autos using little or no gasoline.
Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman, had no immediate comment.
The so-called ATVM program, as well as Energy Department loans to failed solar panel maker Solyndra LLC, have been criticized as wasteful by Republican members of congress. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has described loans to Tesla and Fisker, the luxury plug-in hybrid maker, as "crony capitalism."