Tesla gets federal loan to build Palo Alto plant

Electric vehicle manufacturer will make powertrains at new Stanford Research Park site

A $465 million low-interest federal loan will help Tesla Motors build its planned powertrain production facility in Palo Alto's Stanford Research Park, the U.S. Department of Energy and Tesla announced Thursday afternoon.

The loan will also be used to build an assembly plant in Southern California.

Tesla has a showroom in Menlo Park.

The Department of Energy Thursday finalized the loan for the manufacturing facilities, which are expected to generate an estimated 1,600 jobs.

The Palo Alto site will assemble electric-vehicle battery packs, electric motors and related electric-vehicle control equipment both for Tesla's own electric vehicles and for sale to other automobile manufacturers.

Tesla, currently based in San Carlos, announced in August 2009 that it will move its corporate headquarters to Palo Alto, into a renovated 350,000-square-foot facility formerly occupied by Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies, located at 3500 Deer Creek Road.

The loan will also go toward construction of an assembly plant in Southern California for Tesla's Model S sedan.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, an advocate of electric vehicles, expressed pride in representing Tesla and Silicon Valley.

"Tesla's innovative work will create green jobs in our state and our region which will decrease our dependence on foreign oil, and help develop a robust domestic electric vehicle industry," Eshoo said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein also commended the news, stating that job creation should be a top priority for the government.

"I hope this is the first of many such awards that will help return prosperity and opportunity to the people of California by keeping our state at the cutting edge of new, clean technological sectors," she said in a statement.

While its initial models would be pricey, Tesla said it aims to produce affordable cars for the average buyer and lower the cost of electric vehicle technology.

The low-interest loan was approved in June 2009 and issued through the department's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan program, established by Congress in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to fund the retooling of factories to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The Tesla loan is the second such loan to be awarded under the program.

-- Bay City News and Palo Alto Weekly staff

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Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2010 at 4:38 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Boy oh boy..........electric cars! ONLY $100,000 till 2012 when they are $57,000....And we get 140 miles per jolt w/some gasoline! CHEAP.
Next, we will raise a million times a million to redo our roads.What is that? A trillion? Who cares? We have our cars.......All 1,000 that people can afford that would go 140 mph except for the pot holes and worn out bridges....."We'll cross that bridge later..ha ha"
But to have bullet trains is for the rest of the world now that we are in 146th place economically. Our rich can afford to stay there.
What was it Marie Antoinette said about cake?

Like this comment
Posted by JS
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2010 at 5:51 pm

SMALL STEPS, R Gordon, that's what it will take. We are behind the proverbial automotive power curve already. Why applaud funding that will directly benefit our local economy in the near term and our country in the long term? Do we have road and infrastructure funding issues? Of course but we have to take what we can get when we can get it.

Like this comment
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jan 22, 2010 at 10:09 pm

It is ridiculous to give half a billion dollars to a private company like this. How about we take the half a billion dollars and use it to do research that can benefit ALL companies? The government should not be intervening by choosing a favored company like this, no matter how cool it sounds.

Not to mention the fact that the government is utterly broke, so all this money is being printed or borrowed, reducing either our savings or our future consumption.

Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm

1600 jobs...........WOW!
The cost of buying one right away was published here a few months ago and it was $107,000. The price for one in 2012 WAS $57,000.You are
As for SMALL STEPS , JS, what crap.You speak of benefitting the local economy in the near term and our country in the long term? Even in trouble, China is already the number one auto manufacturer in the WORLD when three years ago, they did not have one assembly plant.
As Mr. Davis points out,the government seems to be acting Bush-stupid
in this choice which was plotted and planned in those years all of our auto industries began their collapses.
How proud Americans can be to one day claim we make the "best battery in the world"....and right no polluting.
We are well on our way to having another Edsel and a small lot filled with used TESLAS....even "Model S's" from southern California.
To all you dog waggers, lotsa luck.

Like this comment
Posted by DUH
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Even with Toyota involved with its recently newsworthy reports of 10 MILLION recalls, they are not the best partners to have.
Besides that, TESLA will not have an affordable (except for the rich) model available till the end of 2012 and that with cost $55 thousand.
Meantime, there already are emerging electric vehicles from almost every country getting great reviews and will be out the first of 2011 and cost half of a TESLA and have logical ideas on how to power them and get a lot more miles per charge.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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