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Electric car maker Tesla repays government loan early

Tesla Motors, an electric car maker headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., has paid off its entire $451.8 Department of Energy loan nine years early with interest.

The automaker, riding the success of a Model S sports sedan that costs a minimum of $62,000 after tax credits, has delivered nearly 10,000 electric vehicles since its founding in 2003. The company builds the car in Fremont, Calif., and now has about 3,000 employees.

It obtained the loan in 2009 as part of a special federal program to encourage development of alternative fuel vehicles and renewable energy sources, and so far it has done both right.

Consumer Reports recently rated the Model S sports sedan 99 out of 100, and Tesla was able to raise $900 million in stock and debt offerings and remains a Wall Street darling.

“I would like to thank the Department of Energy and the members of Congress and their staffs that worked hard to create the ATVM program, and particularly the American taxpayer from whom these funds originate,” said Tesla’s Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk. “I hope we did you proud.”

Tesla is adding a sport utility vehicle, the Model X, to its lineup and plans to expand overseas sales.

The story was different for another U.S. electric car maker, Fisker Automotive of Anaheim, Calif., which defaulted on a similar $171 million Energy Department loan last month.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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