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Tesla Delays Second Model, Pursues Government Loan

image Tesla RoadsterElectric-vehicle maker Tesla Motors Inc. will delay building its second battery powered model at least six months, until the middle of 2010.

In the meantime, Tesla will pursue government loans to help pay for developing the new car, tentatively called the Model S. Congress last month approved $25 billion in direct loans to U.S. automakers, to help automakers develop more fuel-efficient technology.

It is yet to be determined who gets the loans -- the Detroit 3? start-ups like Tesla? suppliers? all of the above? -- and with what strings attached.

The Model S is expected to be a five-passenger luxury sedan, with a base price of about $60,000. Tesla's first car is the two-seat Tesla Roadster, which has a sticker price of $109,000.

Tesla is also building a new headquarters and factory complex in San Jose, Calif. It is now based about 20 miles from the future site, in San Carlos, Calif. Moving to the new headquarters will involve shutting down an office in Rochester Hills, Mich. and eliminating some jobs, the company said.

Before Tesla can get the government loan, Tesla needs to get approval to build its new 89-acre headquarters campus, said chairman and CEO Elon Musk. "If all goes reasonably well, we will receive that approval in Q2 next year," Musk said in a blog posted Oct. 15.

He suggested that the prospect of a government-backed loan was too good to pass up, especially because of the current credit crunch.

"The DOE (Department of Energy) loan guarantee will cover most of the Model S program at a very low cost of capital compared with raising equity financing in what could quaintly be described as a 'bear market,' " Musk said.

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