The CEO of electric car maker Tesla (s TSLA), Elon Musk, said Tuesday that Tesla plans to cut in half the time it will take to pay back its loan to the Department of Energy. Musk made the remarks at the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E Summit in a discussion with DOE Secretary Steven Chu.
Musk said Tesla has ten years to pay back the $465 million loan, which it won back in the summer of 2009, and Tesla plans to reduce that time in half and get it repaid in under five years. Tesla already started paying back its loan, and made its first payment of $12.7 million to the DOE in the fourth quarter of 2012. It plans to make its second payment by March 2013.
During the discussion at ARPA-E, Musk said that if the DOE got so much attention for failures like Solyndra, it should get praise for its successes like Tesla.
Tesla has successfully been transforming from a small-scale electric car maker, into a company that’s producing its second electric car the Model S at a scale of 20,000 cars per year at a factory in Fremont, Calif. During the company’s earnings call last week, Tesla said it would turn its first profit ever (on a non-GAAP basis) in the first quarter of 2013. Musk said he was confident that Tesla could also be profitable for other quarters this year, too.