DETROIT – Tesla Motors Inc.’s third electric vehicle, scheduled to arrive within five years, could see annual production of 200,000 units, the auto maker’s CEO says.

Elon Musk tells journalists at the North American International Auto Show here the vehicle will be smaller than the planned Model S EV and sell for about $30,000.

The vehicle will be assembled at a new plant intended to launch the Model S EV in 2012. Musk says Tesla is close to finalizing its acquisition of a site but declines to reveal details.

Media reports have indicated the Southern California communities of Downey and Long Beach are frontrunners.

The sedan-style Model S, pegged at $49,000 after application of a $7,500 tax rebate, will launch in 2012. It will accommodate up to 7 passengers. Tesla has said it expects to build about 20,000 units of the Model S annually.

Design chief Franz von Holzhausen tells Ward’s the car will be “as functional as any minivan out there.” Valuable interior space is freed up because there is no engine or associated components, he explains. “We’ve got a trunk in the front and one in the rear.”

Musk is coy about Tesla’s plans for an initial public offering, saying only it remains an “aspiration” for Tesla.

He also is mum about the auto maker’s profitability outlook, having taken the unusual step of revealing last summer that – after just five years – it had achieved profitability.

But it was just “a moment of profitability,” Musk concedes.

“We have a huge development program for the Model S,” he adds. “It’s pretty difficult to be profitable if you have a low production-volume car and you’re developing a high production-volume car.”

Musk uses the Detroit show to announce the auto maker has produced its 1,000th Tesla Roadster model, a super-fast EV he describes as a “stepping stone” to higher-volume programs.

The car is assembled at a small site in Menlo Park, CA, where the line rate runs between 700 and 1,000 units annually.

To mark the occasion, Musk says the auto maker will auction the car and divide the proceeds between five Michigan charities.

The Tesla Roadster starts at $101,500, including the tax rebate.

emayne@wardsauto.com