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Tesla Motors Pays Back Energy Department Loan 9 Years Early

Electric automaker Tesla Motors just announced that it has paid back the nearly half a billion dollars the Department of Energy lent it in 2010. According to a company press release, today’s wire transfer of $451.8 million dollars follows two other payments in the last year and a half. U.S. taxpayers could see a $12 million profit, in addition to a thriving company employing thousands.

The loan was offered in 2009 through the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, which began during the Bush Administration in 2007 and was funded in 2008. The program has resulted in $34.4 billion in loans and the creation of roughly 60,000 jobs.

This announcement, hinted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Monday via Twitter, follows the company’s first profitable quarter and Consumer Reports rating the Model S a 99 out of a possible 100. Tesla also outsold similarly-priced gas-powered cars created by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi.

Tesla’s history has not always been as bright as its future looks now. In 2010, Musk said his investments in Tesla had essentially dried out his personal fortune, stating in a court filing that he “ran out of cash.”

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Musk also said that “Tesla will do well as long as we make good products…. To say a car company is the best way to get a return on your investment is absurd, though Tesla will do well for its shareholders.”

Apart from achieving profitability, the full repayment of Tesla’s loan was made possible by “a portion of the approximately $1 billion in funds raised in last week’s concurrent offerings of common stock and convertible senior notes.”

Musk, Tesla’s initial primary investor and CEO, thanked the Energy Department, Congress, and the American taxpayer, saying “I hope we did you proud.”