Tesla Motors asked to speed up government loan repayment image

The U.S. Energy Department has asked Tesla Motors to speed up the repayment of its $465 million loan granted in May 2010 for developing electric cars.

The California-based company, led by billionaire Elon Musk, said today in a U.S. regulatory filing that it has until October 31 to submit a plan for “early repayment” of loan principal. Tesla said it received a waiver from a requirement in the previous loan agreement to maintain a specified current ratio of assets to liabilities, which measures a company’s ability to repay its debts in the next 12 months.

“The department worked with Tesla on a minor technical change to the loan agreement that includes the company submitting a plan to accelerate repayment of the loan. Tesla has made loan payments on time and in full,” Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera said in an e-mail today for Bloomberg.

According to Deepak Ahuja, Tesla Motors’ chief financial officer, the company will meet the deadline for the revised payment plan and will be able to pay back loans in less than 10 years on condition it becomes profitable ahead of schedule.

Tesla disclosed the loan amendment today as it cut its revenue forecast for the third quarter because of supplier shortcomings and other delays in accelerating production of its second vehicle, the Model S sedan.