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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Musk lashes out at ‘eco-terrorists’ over power outage at Tesla plant

The electric car factory in Germany has paused operations due to a suspected arson attack

A shadowy left-wing group has said it was behind a suspected arson attack that prompted the shutdown of a major Tesla plant near Berlin. The authorities and Tesla owner Elon Musk have condemned the actions of the “terrorists.” 

Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg in Gruenheide was evacuated on Tuesday when a nearby electricity pylon caught fire, the authorities and the company said. The blaze did not spread to the factory, but triggered a power outage that brought production to a halt. The police said they are investigating the incident as potential arson.

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The far-left ‘Vulcan Group’ (Vulkangruppe) claimed responsibility for the fire in a letter sent to German media, citing “the conditions of extreme exploitation” at the plant, calling for the “complete destruction of the Gigafactory.” This group and organizations with similar names have been claiming responsibility for arson attacks in Germany since 2011, according to the authorities. Not much is known about the group’s members.

Musk lashed out at the likely perpetrators on social media. “These are either the dumbest eco-terrorists on Earth or they’re puppets of those who don’t have good environmental goals,” Musk wrote on X (formerly Twitter). He added in German that it is “extremely dumb” to target the production of electric cars rather than vehicles that run on fossil fuel.

Brandenburg Minister-President Dietmar Woidke condemned the incident as “a serious attack on our critical infrastructure with consequences for thousands of people and many small and large businesses in our state.” He added that such attacks are “a form of terrorism.” Brandenburg Interior Minister Michael Stuebgen described the suspected attack as “perfidious arson.”

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Reuters cited Tesla as saying the outage left 1,000 vehicles unfinished on Tuesday alone.

Opened in 2022, the Brandenburg plant became Tesla’s first manufacturing site in Europe. The company announced last year that it had reached a production level of 5,000 cars per week.