Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO, Elon Musk, says his company will pay back its Department of Energy loan in five years instead of the ten years originally stipulated. The tech entrepreneur has come into the public light recently as he battles public perception following a negative New York Times review of his company’s new car.
Elon Musk made the statement at the Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Summit. The ARPA-E summit concentrates on research funded by the Department of Energy. Musk also said that if the DOE faces criticism for failed products like Solyndra, it should be congratulated on its successes, like Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA).
The company took a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy in 2009. The loan was due to be paid in full by 2019, but Musk says that his firm will pay it back by 2014. The firm had to compete for the loan, battling against other innovative companies working on energy problems.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) paid its first installment of the loan, $12.7 million, at the end of 2012. The company will make a second payment in March 2013.
The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) printed a review of the Tesla Model S that gave the impression of an unreliable and unfinished electric car earlier in February. Elon Musk disputed the claims, pointing to data from the model’s on board computer that showed the reviewer had intentionally tried to make the car look incapable.
The conflict has caused a huge amount of publicity to be shone on Musk and on Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). The firm is a pioneer in the engineering of electric vehicles, and Musk has been involved in several other innovative tech companies including Paypal, Space X, and Solar City.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is expected to make its first quarterly profit in the first quarter of 2013, and Musk is confident of the company’s success going forward. The electric car manufacturer is using the negative Times review to increase its reach, turning a vulnerability, artificial or not, into an asset.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares fell in today’s market by a small fraction. So far in 2013, the company’s stock has risen by just over 1%. The firm’s earnings report, coupled with the negative publicity surrounding the Model S appear to have been the major forces driving the firm’s share price lower.