Tesla Motors announced on Thursday that the Department of Energy was given the green light to disperse $350 million in loans over the next few months to help the all-electric automaker build a new manufacturing plant in San Jose, Calif.
Company chairman Elon Musk applied for the loans when the company was unable to secure private funding, stalling development of the new facility and casting even more doubt upon the ambitious start-up carmaker.
Musk said that demand for their product is still strong despite the weakened economy and market setbacks; that despite order cancellations they're still sold out of the Tesla Roadster for 2009 production, with more than 200 built and 1,000 more to go. The Model S sedan is back on track, with its unveiling set for March 26.
Musk also announced that they've signed leases to open showrooms in Chicago and London, and are closing in on locations in Manhattan, Miami, Seattle, and Munich. All showrooms should be open in 2009. In true Silicon Valley style, Musk promised launched parties.
With $40 million in private financing it secured in December and a deal struck with Daimler in January to build electric motors for the company's first 1,000 electric Smart Cars, Musk said he expects the company to be profitable by 2009.