Musk, apparently eager to give the magazine an exclusive and reassure buyers who must put down a sizeable $40,000 deposit for a car that they won't see until 2011 at the earliest, said that GE Capital was an investor:
Q: What can you say to reassure buyers fearing you might go under?
A: Even in the worst case of an Armageddon scenario, I'll personally refund people [their money] if need be. I think there's very little danger of that. We've raised around $40 million, and a bit of news that hasn't come out yet [is] General Electric is investing in Tesla. [GE Capital] will be the second-largest investor in this round, after me. Our business plan that we presented to investors gets us to profitability by the middle of this year, even if some negative stuff happens.
A Car and Driver spokeswoman confirms that the magazine is running a story on Tesla in its May issue.
Musk appears to speaking about Tesla's long-delayed $40 million debt financing round which just closed this month. We asked GE if they had invested in the company. Andy Katell, a spokesman for the GE Energy Financial Services unit said no:
We have not invested in Tesla, although we are closely watching it and several other companies in this area.
In January, speaking at a town-hall-style event for Tesla buyers, Musk had hinted that a major player with a "household name" would soon announce an investment in Tesla. So add this to the list of Musk's statements which later prove inoperative.
Update: Tesla now says GE had promised an investment at the time Musk gave the interview to Car and Driver, but backed out the day it was supposed to wire funds to the company.