Summary:

Electric car maker Tesla Motors could make history again, if it pays off its loan from the Department of Energy many years before its due. According to a tweet from the CEO that could be as early as today.

Tesla's Model S

Updated at 1:35PM PST: Tesla says in a press release that it has paid off the entire remaining loan from the DOE of $451.8 million on Wednesday afternoon.

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said a couple months ago that Tesla planned to pay off the rest of Department of Energy loan in five years, instead of the allotted ten. Now, according to a tweet from Musk, Tesla could pay off the entire loan today, nine years early. Musk tweeted:

Given govt loan repayment this week (prob Wed), Supercharger update will be next week. Work continuing independent of announcement.

In order to pay off the loan, Tesla is holding an equity and debt offering, and could raise a billion dollars (boosted from the initial $830 million) from selling shares and convertible senior notes. Musk says he’ll buy $100 million worth of common stock in the offering.

Line of the first Model S carsIf Tesla pays back the entire loan today — or sometime soon — it will be a remarkable feat. Tesla raised a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy’s controversial Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program back in the Summer of 2009. The funds helped the company build its factory in Fremont and transition from a small scale manufacturer of its first-gen Roadster electric sports car into a larger scale manufacturer of its Model S electric sedan.

Tesla was one of only five companies to receive the loans, and one of three startups. Two of the other startups that raised funds from that program, Fisker Automotive and The Vehicle Group, are struggling. Fisker, which makes the electric hybrid sports car the Karma, is near bankruptcy and The Vehicle Production Group, which makes a natural gas-powered van for disabled passengers, has shut down.

Tesla can also afford to pay off the loan early because it’s just come off of its first profitable quarter in the company’s 10-year history. Tesla also generated a record amount of revenue ($561.8 million) in the quarter, and raised its annual guidance of the amount of cars shipped by 1,000 to 21,000 this year.

Tesla stock has been on a tear this month, and is was trading at $89.24 this morning.

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