Tag archives for atvm
A recent report indicates that there’s a dark and shadowy secret just waiting to wreck havoc on Tesla Motors: a federal probe into whether, as the conservative Washington Times puts it, “the automaker was using foreign instead of American parts in manufacturing their electric vehicles.” Tesla has openly said it uses Panasonic battery cells, for example, so the need for a probe is not quite clear.
According to a PDF that the Times says comes from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation, ICE asked the Department of Energy for documents about the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program on December 5, 2011. There are lots of “may” and “possibly” phrasings in the memo, and it reads like someone saw a mention on the DOE website about a “buy American” requirement and went fishing for information. The DOE responded on December 22 that “the $465m Tesla loan was not appropriated through the Recovery Act of 2009. The $465m Tesla loan was actually appropriated through Public Law 110-329 and does not have the buy American requirement,” adding that “The DOE [Office of Inspector General] would not be investigating this matter any further.” For some reason the Times concludes that the memo, “provides no information on how, or whether, the customs probe concluded.”
A Seeking Alpha contributor notes that the ICE:
is still proactively investigating whether Tesla is using its foreign trade zone status to bypass the so-called “loan requirements.” A foreign trade zone facilitates the creation of certain areas at or near customs port of entry where products can be imported without standard import duties and customs entry procedures. Tesla’s application for a “subzone” within San Jose’s foreign trade zone was approved in September. ICE is neither affirming nor denying an investigation. Also, Tesla has made no mention of this investigation in its SEC disclosures.
He add that he’s not worried about a negative impact on TSLA stock or the company based on the investigation. For the record, Tesla’s official statement is as follows:
We have not at any time been made aware of an investigation regarding this issue by ICE or any other governmental agency. It is customary for car manufacturers in the United States to use imported parts and we have openly indicated throughout the development of Model S that we purchase certain parts, like the cells used in our battery pack, from foreign suppliers.
Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive
We’re willing to bet there are bottles of champagne popping all the way from Washington, DC to Palo Alto, CA today with the announcement that Tesla Motors has, as suspected, paid off the entirety of its $465-million Department of Energy loan.
“I hope we did you proud” – Elon Musk
As far back as July 2012, Tesla began talking about paying the US government back early, but it was apparently the tremendous rise in the company’s stock value recently that prompted CEO Elon Musk to push for the immediate repayment this week. From a price of $33.87 on January 1, TSLA has climbed to $87.24 today (down a bit from the recent highs of over $92). Last week, Tesla sold enough stock to raise over a billion dollars to repay the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan, with interest. This makes Tesla the first automaker to pay the DOE back, and it did so nine years ahead of schedule. In a prepared statement, Tesla CEO Elon Musk thanked the DOE and Congress and “particularly the American taxpayer from whom these funds originate. I hope we did you proud.”
The DOE is certainly proud, issuing a release that said the repayment “shows the strength of energy department’s overall loan portfolio.” The DOE has come under fire recently for the loan it gave to Fisker Automotive. Two other ATVM recipients, Nissan and Ford, have not yet paid all theit money back, but there are no apparent worries there, either. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement that, “not every investment will succeed” but that the DOE’s overall $34-million loan portfolio of more than 30 loans “is delivering big results for the American economy while costing far less than anticipated.” Details in the press releases below.
It’s been a while since we’ve paid attention to Fox News attacking electric cars, but has it really been long enough for them to forget some pretty salient details? Looks like it has, according to a new video from Media Matters, which splices together clips from before Tesla Motors made its big profit announcement and the company’s other recent items of good news.
In all the “before” clips, the hosts and commentators just can’t seem to mention Tesla without also saying something about taxpayer money and losers (ring a bell?). In the “after” parts, well, just watch. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so depressing. See how it all comes together below.