Last week Tesla open sourced parts of their original Roadster design, and also released all of the service information and diagnostic software. I fear this may violate Australia's new Right to Repair laws, and Tesla may be liable for a $187,800 fine for doing so. Oops?

Possibly it's one fine for every Australian who downloaded the information...


As of a few days ago, if you go to the official Tesla Roadster service page then you can find the Service Manuals, circuit diagrams, Parts Catalog, and some R&D documents:

Screenshot of the Roadster service page

Tesla's Roadster service page at time of writing

This is a fantastic resource, even if it's not quite "fully open source".

This level of information should be available to everyone for every car, not only for luxury abandonware. We need this information to keep these complicated consumer products functioning and out of waste channels.

Thankfully, Right to Repair movements in the US and Europe are moving in this direction for service and repair information.

Australia has done things very differently. Last year I took a deep dive into our new Right to Repair laws, discovering how the government seemingly ignored many industry submissions and overseas practices.

In Australia, only pre-approved categories of repair businesses can access repair information. There are strict additional requirements and penalties around the unauthorised release of "safety and security information", which explicitly includes anything related to the high voltage systems in electric vehicles.

No other country in the world does this.

So, Tesla can't give this away freely?

Perhaps not to Australians. I'm not a lawyer,1 but my reading of the 2021 legislation is:

  1. The Roadster is a scheme vehicle as it was sold in Australia in 2011.
  2. The information on the Roadster service page includes scheme information as it is for use in diagnosing faults with, servicing or repairing those vehicles.
  3. As they're publishing it online, Tesla is a data provider. Possibly GitHub as well, as some of the information is hosted there.
  4. The information includes safety information as it has information about the high voltage system and the electric propulsion system, among others. Oh my! Clutches pearls tightly.

Photo of the Roadster chassis and motor

(Photo by Dawn Endico.)

... under section 57DB, a data provider must not supply [...] safety and security information for a scheme vehicle to an individual unless they've met a bunch of requirements to prove that the individual is a fit and proper person to access and use the safety and security information.

The penalty for violation is 600 penalty units, which is AU$187,800 as of 1 July 2023. If a violation occurs each time the information is supplied, then I guess that could be each time someone in Australia clicked one of the links...

How is this a thing?

To be clear, I believe Tesla should be able to give away this information freely. I don't think they should be fined, or forced to block access from Australia.

I do believe that our new "Right to Repair" law is a bad law, drafted without proper consideration of this century's technologies.

Photo of the Roadster HVAC system

(Photo by Rahul Nair.)

The law should be changed to keep us from becoming an information desert where no one but a chosen few is permitted to see information about car repair. To learn more, see this post from September 2022.

  1. I'd be very happy for a lawyer to explain how I'm wrong. It might mean there's a way for auto makers to provide all Australians with repair information! 

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