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When reading the newsletter that electric car startup Tesla Motors sent to customers this morning, you could hardly be blamed for thinking the company had a Department of Energy loan in the bag. “Regarding funding,” writes CEO Elon Musk, “I am excited to report that the […]

When reading the newsletter that electric car startup Tesla Motors sent to customers this morning, you could hardly be blamed for thinking the company had a Department of Energy loan in the bag. “Regarding funding,” writes CEO Elon Musk, “I am excited to report that the Department of Energy informed Tesla last week that they expect to disburse funds from our $350M Model S loan application within four to five months.”

But in fact Tesla has not yet been awarded any funds, and its application remains in the “financial viability and technical merit stage” of evaluation, which involves opening up the company books to the government, according to spokesperson Rachel Konrad. At this point, Konrad said, the DOE will find one cash-flow positive unit (powertrains). And while the company as a whole will not turn a profit in 2009, the Roadster unit is on track to become cash-flow positive this summer.teslaracingphoto

Still, the 4-5 month timeline comes as welcome news for Tesla — and the dozens of other companies vying for funds under the $25 billion DOE loan program for advanced vehicle manufacturing. It’s not the four weeks Energy Secretary Steven Chu was hoping for, but it’s an improvement over what Konrad said was starting to look like a year-and-a-half time frame just a few weeks ago.

Tesla’s V-P of corporate development, Diarmud O’Connell, revealed in an interview last fall that the company had applied for $400 million in low-interest loans, with slightly more than $200 million requested for building the Model S factory, and slightly less for battery development. Konrad said today that Tesla has requested roughly $100 million for the battery. The DOE is still in the early stages of evaluating that application.

Other tidbits from Musk this morning: The company has nailed down a date — March 26 — to show the Model S prototype in Southern California. It also plans to open showroom/service centers in Chicago, Manhattan, Miami, Seattle, London and Munich by year’s end. Finally, for everyone who’s been wondering about the lifespan of the Roadster battery pack, Musk said it “should last approximately seven years or over 100,000 miles under normal use.”

  1. I think Musk is making up stories because his last hope on Earth is the DOE Section 136 money and you cannot get that money unless you are financially viable. He is sending our press notices and trying to make it look like things are OK and they are not. Shelby and Fisker are taking all of their customers because those companues new cars totally kill the Tesla. He is cooking the books like a madman right now to get past DOE and the private investigators of his ex wife and 5 kids he dumped on for the “starlet”.

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  2. I noticed similar takes around the interwho today, but looks like yours came first. Nice break!

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  3. [...] No Comments Posted February 12th, 2009 at 4:17 pm in Automotive As part of the optimistic newsletter from Tesla this week — the one detailing hopes for a cash-flow positive Roadster this summer and a $350 million [...]

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  4. [...] Treehugger, Earth2Tech, AP Share and [...]

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  5. [...] T­re­e­h­ugge­r, Eart­h2T­ech, AP « June Jacobs Vanda Orchid Spa Collection GM will update the Chevy Volt throughout its [...]

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  6. [...] also sheds light on Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk’s recent statement about that company’s loan guarantee application. “Regarding funding,” he wrote in an [...]

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  7. [...] picked to submit full applications for the loans back in 2007, including Tesla Motors, which is waiting for $350 million from the DOE to build a factory for its new Model S sedan and for battery development. Last week, [...]

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  8. [...] year, and was unable to raise the cash it wanted at the valuation it wanted. Now it’s betting everything on a DOE loan, and has even stooped to jacking up prices on already delayed Roadsters. [...]

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