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Tesla Roadster goes 'Fully Open Source' in rare repair-friendly move

The original Tesla Roadster is set to be replaced soon, although the Roadster 2.0 has suffered major delays. (Image source: Tesla)
The original Tesla Roadster is set to be replaced soon, although the Roadster 2.0 has suffered major delays. (Image source: Tesla)
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, this week announced that the engineering and plans for the original Roadster have been made open source. Accompanying the announcement, Tesla published a webpage of PDF documents, including complete service documentation, diagnostic software, and circuit and connector information. This move is uncharacteristically repair-friendly, and it could help keep the original Roadsters on the road for a little longer.

The original Tesla Roadster was launched more than a decade ago, in 2008, and was in production until 2012. It was more or less the vehicle that rocketed Tesla into the limelight and served as a proof of concept, showing the world that an electric sports car was indeed possible and practical.

Now, 11 years later, Tesla's CEO announced on social media platform X (fka Twitter) that all the technical information about the Roadster's research and development is open source. While Tesla has followed through and published several documents pertaining to the Roadster's technical workings, it's a far cry from Musk's claim that “Whatever we have, you now have.”

Tesla's Roadster Service page features technical information, including battery and circuit diagrams, service manuals, diagnostic software, and a copy of the software used in the vehicle display system, along with other handy downloads.

Curiously, despite Musk's proclamation that the Roadster's R&D is now open-source, the documents don't seem to be published under any specific open-source licence.

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Also conspicuously absent from the list of documents are any CAD files or technical drawings, which would let owners of the Roadster reconstruct any trim pieces or other physical components with the help of a 3D printer. 

The only semblance of legalese on Tesla's Roadster Service page is a disclosure basically absolving Tesla of any wrongdoing if the provided information turns out to be inaccurate.

The information provided here is being provided as a courtesy to Roadster enthusiasts and was created during the design phase of the Roadster for research and development. It isn't manufacturer reference or repair and maintenance material, and may not accurately reflect the actual production models or parts sold. If you use this information, it's your responsibility to ensure that you follow all laws and safety protocols as we don't provide any warranties on any work done by non-Tesla personnel whether or not you use the information provided here. You also understand that if you make or design parts or create new repairs or procedures based on this information, we won't be responsible for them and they won't be genuine Tesla parts or accessories or Tesla-approved procedures. 

While the way the information was published is less than ideal, given the absence of a clear licence and wording that raises questions about the accuracy of the information, what Tesla has made available should give those looking to repair or salvage a Roadster something to reference when encountering errors.

Thus, it should help those few Roadsters Tesla managed to sell stay on the road for longer, reducing the overall impact of the vehicles on the environment. It's a rare step in the right direction when it comes to right to repair — a movement with which Tesla has had a particularly rocky relationship in the past.


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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 11 > Tesla Roadster goes 'Fully Open Source' in rare repair-friendly move
Julian van der Merwe, 2023-11-24 (Update: 2023-11-24)