Tesla Motors is probably most notable
for its sexy
all-electric Roadster. The $100,000+ sports car, which is based
on the Lotus Elise chassis, has a driving range of 244 miles – one
Tesla Roadster, however, was able to travel
313 miles on a single charge -- and can zip to 60 mph in less
than four seconds. However, Tesla is looking to take its electric
car-building prowess to a somewhat more mainstream audience with its
four-door Model S electric sedan.
This is where the federal government
steps in to work its magic. According
to the Detroit News, Tesla Motors today closed on a
deal to secure $465 million in low-cost loans from the Energy
Department. The funds will be used to build manufacturing plants in
California for the Model S and its powertrain.
The company was originally approved
for the loan back in June of 2009. The $465 million will come
from the Advanced
Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program which is providing a
total of $25 billion to automakers that develop new fuel efficient
vehicles. Other notable names to get in on the loans include Nissan
($1.6 billion) and Ford ($5.9 billion).
"This is an investment in our
clean energy future that will create jobs and reduce our dependence
on foreign oil," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
"It will help build a customer
base and begin laying the foundation for American leadership in the
growing electric vehicles industry. This is part of a sustained
effort to develop and commercialize technologies that will be broadly
deployed throughout the American auto industry."
As previously reported by DailyTech,
the Model S will have a driving
range of up to 300 miles and can dash to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.
The fetching sedan weighs in at a portly 4,000 pounds (1,200 pounds of
which comes from its lithium-ion battery pack). If all goes according
to plan, the base Model S will cost around $50,000 after a
government-backed $7,500 tax credit is taken into consideration. For
comparison, the Chevrolet Volt is expected to cost
in the “low 30s” after the $7,500 tax credit is applied. At
that price point, GM still contends that it can make a profit.
The Model S is scheduled to go into
production in 2012 and yearly output is pegged at 20,000 units per