Mike Stevens | Jan 8, 2012

The leap from the high-priced electric Roadster to the affordable Model S electric sedan has taken Tesla nearly four years. Its third model, the high-riding Model X SUV, will arrive in a much shorter time frame. Next month, in fact.

Although the electric Model X isn't due to hit showrooms until late 2013 - quite a while after the coming July debut of the Model S sedan - Tesla has confirmed this week that the world will get a first look at its third model on February 9.

The news follows reports that the American electric carmaker would reveal the Model X in late 2011, followed by a proper unveiling at this week's Detroit Auto Show.

Tesla has not offered any word on its decision to skip the Detroit event, although the February 9 date coincides with the opening of the Chicago Auto Show.

“The time is right to unveil the car,” Musk said. “I’ve seen the latest design for it and I’m very happy with it," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said of the Model X during the unveiling of the latest Model S "Beta" development car.

Thanks to the simplified design and the small number of moving parts in Tesla's electric-only platform, the Model X will share its underpinnings with the Model S sedan.

Tesla has confirmed that it expects to produce around 15,000 units each year from 2013 - with an ultimate goal of 500,000 vehicles across the range - Model S, Model X and next-gen Roadster.

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