Tesla Motors today wired the U.S. Department of Energy nearly a half a billion dollars, paying off the entire loan it was awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2010 with interest and nine years ahead of schedule.
The Palo Alto electric-car company made sure to note that with the $451.8 million repayment it became the "only American car company to have fully repaid the government," according to a company press release.
"I would like to thank the Department of Energy and the members of Congress and their staffs that worked hard to create the ATVM (Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing) program, and particularly the American taxpayer from whom these funds originate," Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk said. "I hope we did you proud."
The company made the payment using the nearly $1 billion it raised last week selling common stock and convertible senior notes. Musk bought $100 million in common equity stocks in the company.
Tesla has been in national headlines frequently this year. It announced the first quarter of 2013 as the first profitable quarter in its 10-year history, earning $11 million in profit from $562 million in revenue.
In January, Tesla's Model S sedan won Motor Trend's 2013 car-of-the-year award and this month racked up a 99 out of 100 in Consumer Reports' review, the highest rating earned in the history of the magazine.
As a result its stock prices have experienced a meteoric rise. A year ago today its value was $30.74; today it closed at $87.24.
The news comes despite the dire predictions of one or two public figures. During his unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney called Tesla a "loser," lumping it together with the likes of Solyndra and Fisker Automotive -- failed and failing green companies also funded by the Department of Energy.
In an April 5 Facebook post, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin bashed Tesla as part of the "the latest manifestation of the administration's crony capitalism as their green-energy buddies benefit from this atrocious waste of taxpayer money."
"Obama-subsidized Tesla that turns into a 'brick' when the battery completely discharges and then costs $40,000 to repair," she wrote.
Musk issued a dry response on Twitter.
"Sarah Palin calls Tesla a loser. Am Deeply wounded ... btw Model S warranty does cover 'bricking.'"