San Carlos, California – Tesla Motors has received approval for approximately US$465 in low-interest government loans to accelerate the production of electric vehicles, which will be sold in several countries including Canada.

The funding will come from the U.S. Department of Energy, under a program that provides incentives to new and established automakers to build more fuel-efficient vehicles. Tesla will use $365 million for production engineering and assembly of the Model S, an all-electric family sedan that carries 7 people and travels up to 300 miles (482 km) per charge. In the U.S., the Model S is expected to sell for a base price of $49,900, after a $7,500 federal tax credit.

The company expects to start production in late 2011 in an assembly plant employing about 1,000 workers.

Tesla will also use $100 million for a powertrain manufacturing plant that will employ about 650 people and supply all-electric powertrains to other automakers to greatly accelerate the availability of mass-market electric vehicles. The company is in the final stages of negotiation for facilities in California.

Tesla currently produces the Tesla Roadster, the first production battery electric vehicle to travel more than 200 miles (321 km) per charge and the first U.S.- and E.U.-certified lithium ion battery electric vehicle. The Roadster, which has never been funded by the government, is expected to become profitable in the third quarter of 2009. The company has delivered more than 500 of them to customers, and will begin delivery of the second-generation Roadster and the new, higher-performance Roadster Sport later this month.

Tesla will expand its network of showrooms this summer with stores in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, London, Munich and Monaco. Additional stores are planned for Toronto and Washington, D.C.

Connect with