Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said Thursday that U.S. taxpayers made a substantial profit from a government loan provided to the all-electric carmaker.
“It really feels good to have repaid the U.S. taxpayer,” he told Bloomberg WEST. “That’s really what’s important here, and we didn’t just repay the principle, we actually repaid it with interest and a bonus payment. Ultimately, the U.S. taxpayer actually made a profit of over $12 million on this loan. So, in fact, for this loan at least, people’s tax bill actually went slightly down.”
Musk noted Tesla was “attacked a lot in certain quarters” for being awarded the $465 million loan from the U.S. Energy Department in 2010. Conservatives like presidential candidate Mitt Romney, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Fox Business host Lou Dobbs described the company as “losers.”
“I think it actually matters to some consumers out there whether a company does have a government debt,” Musk said. “Being able to say we’ve fully repaid that debt with interest I think is helpful to some number of people out there.”
Tesla announced Wednesday it had completely paid off the loan nine years earlier than required.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by Bloomberg, below: