Musk made the announcement during an interview with
The SUV would be roughly half the base price of the company's current Model S premium electric sedan.
The Palo Alto electric vehicle manufacturer's first effort, the now discontinued Roadster sports car, retailed for about $100,000.
Tesla says that its first SUV, a premium crossover called the Model X, will be released next year. Company documents have indicated that it will be priced similar to a comparably equipped Model S sedan.
Wall Street analysts have said that the company's long term viability rests on whether it will be able to add more affordable vehicles to its lineup.
"Getting a more afffordable vehicle into the lineup is the future of the company," Johnson said. "It will be a $60 a share company if it is never more than a Model S or a Model X vehicle marker. It has to be one that will cost around $45,000, before subsidies."
On Thursday, Musk announced an accelerated roll out of fast super-charger stations across the U.S. and parts of Canada, promising to boost the current eight stations to 25 by midsummer.
By the winter months of this year, Musk said, coast-to-coast travel for the company's electric car will be possible along Interstate 80. Musk said that 80% of the U.S. would have access to the $150,000-to-$300,000 stations by 2014, and that 98% of the nation would be covered by 2015.
Musk said that the fast chargers will be free for Tesla Model S owners, who will also be the only people with vehicles able to take advantage of the fast charge technology.