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Elon Musk says fourth Tesla will be small SUV costing about $35,000

Elon Musk says fourth Tesla will be small SUV costing about $35,000
Tesla Motors' Model S premium electric sedan starts around $70,000, but Tesla chief Elon Musk is promising to get a small SUV into the electic vehicle manufacturer's lineup that will cost about half as much. (Paul Sakuma / AP Photo)

Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk said that the fourth vehicle in the automaker's lineup with be a small $35,000-ish SUV.

Musk made the announcement during an interview with CNBC on Friday.

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.

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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.

Brian A. Johnson, an analyst with Barclays Capital Inc. in New York, said as much this week, when Tesla stock surpassed the $100 a share mark for the first time.

"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.

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