Updated with comment from Tesla: Tomorrow could be a big day for Tesla Motors and the would-be customers who have logged more than 1,000 orders for the startup’s planned electric sedan, the Model S. The San Carlos, Calif.-based company’s request for $350 million in loans under a long-delayed government program has lingered in limbo for months at the Department of Energy. But if the anonymous sources cited this evening in the Detroit Free Press are right, the waiting ends tomorrow morning with the announcement of loans for Tesla, as well as Ford and Nissan. We haven’t confirmed this with Tesla, and we’re waiting to hear back from them.
Update: Tesla spokesperson Rachel Konrad tells us, “Tesla remains very confident about our two applications for low-interest loans through the DOE,” and says the company is leaving it to the DOE to answer questions about approvals and timing.
The announcement would be right on time, based on Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s statement in early February that “the Department of Energy informed Tesla last week that they expect to disburse funds from our $350M Model S loan application within 4-5 months.” (Tesla spokesperson Rachel Konrad clarified with us at the time that the company’s application was actually still being evaluated for financial and technical viability.)
As we’ve written before, Tesla has had good reason to be confident that DOE funds would come through, but there’s a lot riding on the loan approval. Late last year, Tesla’s VP of corporate development, Diarmuid O’Connell, explained in an interview that Tesla would use direct loans from the DOE program for two projects, including a new battery manufacturing operation and the Model S project. It’s unclear at this point how much, if any, funding Tesla has been awarded for these projects. We’ll keep you updated as the details come in tomorrow.
Model S photo credit Tesla Motors