Far-left group claims attack on Tesla factory in Germany

Production halted at electric vehicle plant in Brandenburg after suspected arson attack causes power outage.

Tesla has halted production at its German factory after power lines supplying the plant were set on fire in an act of “sabotage” claimed by a far-left group.

Emergency services were called early on Tuesday after reports of a burning electricity pylon southeast of Berlin close to the Tesla plant.

The blaze was extinguished, but damage to the lines knocked out power to the electric car factory, located in the state of Brandenburg, as well as surrounding villages.

Police said they have launched an investigation into suspected arson.

Far-left activists from the Vulkangruppe (Volcano Group) claimed responsibility for the act.

“With our sabotage, we have set ourselves the goal of achieving the biggest possible blackout of the Gigafactory,” the group said in a statement.

A View of the Tesla Gigafactory in Gruenheide near Berlin, Germany
Tesla said production at the Tesla Gigafactory in Gruenheide has been stopped due to a blackout [Filip Singer/EPA-EFE]

The group highlighted concerns about the environmental impact of the plant and its effect on the local water supply.

“We feel connected to all the people who won’t let Tesla turn the tap off,” the group said.

Michael Stuebgen, Brandenburg’s interior minister, said that if arson is confirmed, it would be “a perfidious attack on our electricity infrastructure”.

“Thousands of people have been cut off from their basic supply and put in danger. The rule of law will react to such an act of sabotage with the utmost severity.”

Electricity was restored after a few hours in the nearby towns and villages, but Tesla remained without energy and authorities said it would likely take several days to restore it at the plant.

Tesla opened the factory in March 2022, launching a challenge to German automakers on their home turf.

The company wants to expand the facility to add a freight depot, warehouses and a company kindergarten. Those plans would entail felling more than 100 hectares (247 acres) of forest.

Referring to the possible attackers, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that “these are either the dumbest eco-terrorists on Earth or they’re puppets of those who don’t have good environmental goals.”

“Stopping production of electric vehicles, rather than fossil fuel vehicles, ist extrem dumm,” he added, using German to say “is extremely stupid”.

The power outage came as environmental activists have been protesting in a forest near the plant against plans by Tesla to expand. Dozens of activists have put up tents and built treehouses.

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