When Tesla launched the Roadster in 2008, buyers of the first $109,000 car included George Clooney, former eBay president Jeff Skoll and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk himself, then chair of the company.

Now its CEO, Musk is following a long-held plan to put Teslas in the driveways of the middle classes, pushing down the price of its most affordable Model 3 to $36,200 (R547,000) in the US.

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