Tesla Pays Off US Loan 9 Years Early CEO to taxpayers: 'I hope we did you proud' By Matt Cantor, Newser User Suggested by T.A.R.D.I.S Posted May 23, 2013 2:11 AM CDT Updated May 23, 2013 6:03 AM CDT 124 comments Comments In this May 2, 2013 photo, a Tesla car is shown outside of Tesla motors in Fremont, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) (Newser) – Tesla has come a long way since Mitt Romney labeled it a "loser" in the presidential debates. The company has paid off its $465 million 2010 loan from the Department of Energy—plus interest—nine years before it was due, Businessweek reports. With yesterday's payment for $451.8 million, "Tesla will be the only American car company to have fully repaid the government," the company says. Boss Elon Musk thanked the government and "particularly the American taxpayer from whom these funds originate ... I hope we did you proud." Things have been going well lately for Tesla: That payment comes from the nearly $1 billion it raised last week, Reuters notes. The company reported its first quarterly profit weeks ago. Meanwhile, its share price has climbed from $25.52 to $87.24 over the course of a year, Businessweek points out. The government loan helped it create its Model S electric car; the vehicle just got Consumer Reports' highest score ever. Officials call the repayment "the latest indication that the Energy Department's portfolio of more than 30 loans is delivering big results for the American economy while costing far less than anticipated."