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Tesla will use U.S. loans to develop the Model S all-electric family sedan

June 24th, 2009

From Green Right Now Reports

Tesla Motors Inc. has been approved for about $465 million in low-interest loans from the US Department of Energy to help speed production of its own and other company’s electric cars.

The California company will use $365 million of the money toward producing its Model S – an all-electric family sedan that could carry seven people and travel up to 300 miles per charge.

Now fasten your seatbelt: The car would cost about $50,000, after a $7,500 US federal tax credit. But Tesla suggests that it would be similar to a $35,000 conventional car, because it would cost less to operate (electricity vs. gasoline) and require little maintenance, according to a press release from the company, which estimates production of the Model S would begin in late 2011.
Tesla will use the remaining $100 million in loans to support a powertrain manufacturing plant, which would supply power trains to other automakers in the hope of hastening mass-market electric vehicles.

The Model S production and the power train plant would employ about 1,000 and 650 workers respectively, Tesla reports.

The loans come from a program started in 2007 to help reduce American dependence on foreign oil and produce green collar jobs. The Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program is not a part of the 2008 stimulus package.

“Tesla will use the ATVM loan precisely the way that Congress intended — as the capital needed to build sustainable transport,” promised Tesla CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk in the news release.

The Silicon Valley company is known for producing the technologically advanced vehicle Roadster, an all-electric sports car that can travel 244 miles on a charge and emits no harmful air emissions. Tesla has sold about 500 Roadsters and recently announced that it expects its Roadster business to be profitable in the third quarter of this year. The Roadster, which can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, costs $101,500 after a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Both the Roadster and the Model S are clean energy vehicles, with no tailpipe emissions. They require no oil changes and operate with fewer moving parts than conventional gas engine cars.



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