Tesla Factory Shutdown due to Suspected Arson; Elon Musk Blames 'Eco-terrorists'

March 6, 2024 - Reading time: 3 minutes

Tesla evacuates its Germany plant and Musk blames 'eco-terrorists' for suspected arson

The Tesla Inc. Gigafactory in Grünheide, Germany, on Tuesday halted production and sent workers home after a power failure caused by suspected arson at a nearby high-voltage pylon affected the region. The incident has drawn condemnation from Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Production was halted and workers evacuated at Tesla's German factory due to power failure caused by suspected arson.

Andre Thierig, who manages 12,500 staff at the Grünheide Gigafactory near Berlin, said it would take several days before production would be back up and running. He added that the outage would cost "in the high nine-digit euro range," meaning more than $100 million.

Tesla's first European factory faces setbacks due to power failure

The incident at Tesla's Grünheide Gigafactory poses another setback for the company, which is facing pressure from a German metalworkers union and global supply chain issues because of attacks on shipping in the Red Sea. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Thierig said, "We are very concerned about the safety of our employees," adding that the outage had not posed any danger to people or the environment.

Police investigating online confession by 'Volcano Group'

Firefighters extinguished a blaze at a nearby high-voltage electricity pylon in the early hours of the morning and prevented it from spreading to the Gigafactory. The power outage also affected the surrounding area, stretching as far as some boroughs in Berlin. Police are investigating a confession posted online by the far-left "Volcano Group," which called for the "complete destruction of the Gigafactory" because they alleged Tesla "eats up earth, resources, people and labor" and "spits out 6,000 SUVs, killer machines and monster trucks a week."

Musk condemns 'eco-terrorists' on Twitter

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote on X (formerly Twitter), "These are either the dumbest eco-terrorists on Earth or they're puppets of those who don't have good environmental goals." Using the German words for "extremely stupid," he added that "stopping production of electric vehicles, rather than fossil fuel vehicles, ist extrem dumm."

German Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser issued a statement condemning the alleged attack on critical energy infrastructure, which she said is "a serious crime that cannot be justified by anything."

Tesla's Gigafactory challenges Germany's domestic automakers

Musk's decision to base his most modern Gigafactory just outside Berlin has challenged Germany's domestic automakers, which are struggling to keep up with the electric vehicle market. Tesla has faced resistance since before it opened the Grünheide Gigafactory's doors in 2024.

Last week, environmental activists erected tents and built make-shift tree houses in the woodland Tesla plans to cut down in order to expand.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.