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2016-04-04 08:38

COMING TO SA: Tesla unveiled a new, cheaper model of its electric car aimed at the mass market in late March 2016. The new model will only be available in late 2017 and is confirmed for South Africa. Image: AFP / Tesla

Cape Town - Tesla, the electric car company started by South-African born tech guru Elon Musk, confirmed that its latest electric vehicle, the Model 3, is headed for South Africa.

Musk made the announcement on twitter.

The automaker says orders are piling up even though the new car won't be available until late 2017.

Over 300km range

Tesla unveiled its Model 3 electric car on Thursday night at its Los Angeles design studio. At a starting price of $35 000 (the equivalent of R517 650) - before federal and state government incentives - the Model 3 is less than half the cost of Tesla's previous models.

The car is expected to have a range of at least 321km when fully charged, about double what drivers get from competitors in its price range, such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

According to the automaker, South Africans can reserve their Model 3 by placing a $1000 payment on Tesla's website.

Read: Tesla's biggest test yet: 'Affordable' Model 3

Musk tweeted:

Twitter user Ken Stephens tweeted Musk for clarity:

Huge interest

Orders for the much-hyped Tesla Model 3, a cheaper version of its electric car aimed at the mass market, have surged to 276 000 in just three days, company founder Elon Musk said Sunday (April 3).

Orders are piling up fast and exceeding the expectations of the company for its Model 3 - which will have a base price of $35 000 - even though it won't be available until late next year.

Amid reports of queues to snap up the vehicle, Musk tweeted: "276k Model 3 orders by end of Sat."

And in a subsequent tweet added: "A Model 3 order gives you priority in your geography, so, even tho total count is high, ordering early will make a big difference locally."

With the Model 3, a compact sedan unveiled Thursday (March 31), Tesla aims to show it can appeal to the general public and produce cars en masse.

The base price is half that of Tesla's luxury Model S and the Model X, which start at $70 000. Musk said Thursday (March 31) that orders had passed 115,000 worldwide and hinting that demand was outstripping expectation later tweeted: "Definitely going to need to rethink production planning..."

Watch: Buyers line up to place an order for the Model 3

A video posted by Tesla Motors (@teslamotors) on

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