Tesla lets you build your own Roadster

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced the full open-sourcing of its original Roadster design and engineering, making R&D documents accessible to the public. This move comes over a decade after discontinuing the original Roadster, which kickstarted the Tesla business and served as a mule for fund-raising. Insiders wonder whether this move is tied to the ongoing delays in the production of the new generation.

Remember the original Roadster? It was Tesla’s first shot at an electric car, built upon the underpinnings of a Lotus Elise. Over 2 000 units rolled off the assembly line, so the model has become a rare commodity. Tesla has now decided to open-source the design, creating a loophole for enthusiasts to build one themselves by allowing for the creation of replicas.

From owner’s manual to connectors

In 2015, Tesla had already taken a step toward open-sourcing these patents, but the recent announcement marks a more definitive move. A wide array of information is now available, from owners’ manuals to circuits and connectors. Elon Musk declared the “full” open-sourcing of the original Roadster design, making it possible for everyone to explore the ins and outs of the vehicle’s creation.

The released documents were generated during the design phase for research and development. However, Tesla emphasizes that the information is not intended for manufacturing reference or repair and maintenance. Users are cautioned to adhere to laws and safety protocols, and no warranties are provided for work done by non-Tesla personnel using this information.

Is a new one around the corner?

But why does Tesla open up on otherwise secretive and patented files? The timing might be due to the painstaking delays in the next-generation Roadster, unveiled no less than six years ago, promising scorching acceleration and ground-breaking high-tech worthy of a true supercar. The company happily started taking pre-orders, on which Musk commented a few months ago: “We are certainly testing the patience of our reservation holders.”

The new Roadster was initially slated for delivery in 2020. Liberating the patents from the old version might point to the imminent release of the new one. Elon Musk has mentioned completing the final design and engineering by the end of 2023, targeting production commencement by the end of 2024.

But we all know about the toxic relationship between Elon Musk and deadlines. Or does Tesla merely want to steer away from producing parts for its first baby and let the aftermarket bite the bullet?


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