Tesla’s Grünheide factory back after sabotage by activist group (update)

After the sabotage attack, which led to a power outage and discontinuation of assembly, Tesla’s Grünheide factory is back online. Engineers from energy supplier Edis worked in three-shift mode to restore the connection and succeeded on Monday evening.

“The measures to restart the plant are now running at full speed under all safety precautions,” wrote plant manager Andre Thierig on LinkedIn. “It will certainly take some time before we have fully resumed production, but the most important step has been taken.” When exactly the factory will be up and running remains to be determined.

The attack investigation is increasingly taken more seriously, as it has been handed over to the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office, Germany’s highest prosecution authority. The case is splitting opinion, as around 1,000 people protested in Grünheide against Tesla’s expansion plans on Sunday, a rally met by a counter-movement of some 200 Tesla workers sympathizing with their employer.

‘Extrem dumm’

German far-left organization Vulkangruppe has claimed responsibility for sabotaging Tesla’s Grünheide factory. Their arson attack on an electricity pylon led to a power cut, temporarily suspending production. “Extrem dumm,” the Tesla CEO replied on his social network X.

An explosion occurred at an electricity pylon near the Gigafactory, causing a fire and a subsequent power rupture. The factory workforce was immediately evacuated. As the power outage also affected 10,000 inhabitants in the immediate surroundings, the German Chamber of Commerce is calling for political action and approving the proposal for heightened protection of utility companies’ infrastructure.

According to German newspaper Bild, the damage caused by the arson will amount to 60 million euros. The number is based on the daily production of roughly 1,350 Model Ys at an average retail price of €45,000. Tesla assumed it could restart production by the end of this week.

‘Agua de Pau’

Activists have been camping near the factory grounds for some time to protest against Tesla’s expansion plans of adding 170 hectares to today’s patch of 300 hectares and the accompanying deforestation.

The police found a tent and a hide-out with explosives, as the newspaper Märkischer Allgemeine reported, a danger that hindered the firemen in extinguishing the fire.

The arson attack was later claimed by the Vulkangruppe, a radical left-wing movement, which sent a letter to the police stating that “together we will bring Tesla to its knees”. The group denounced CEO Elon Musk as a “Technofascist” and was signed with ‘Agua de Pau’, the name of a volcanic mountain in the Azores.

“Halting the production of electric cars instead of combustion-engined cars is ‘extrem dumm’,” replied a fierce Musk on X, writing his last comment in German. He added that these terrorists were either among the dumbest eco-warriors in the world or puppets of those without the right ecological intentions.

‘Not without consequences’

Michael Stübgen, Brandenburg state Interior Minister, said: “If the initial findings are confirmed, this is an insidious attack on our electricity infrastructure.” He lashed out that the action would not be without consequences, promising more police patrols and increased security controls.

On a political level, the government has delayed the law proposal for better protection and security support of utility infrastructure. The attack on Tesla Grünheide reaffirms the urgency of enforcing the proposal.


Tesla wants to expand Grünheide to achieve an annual output of 1 million vehicles, up from today’s 300,000 units. To meet its targets, it needs to build stock depots, a train station, and even a kindergarten at the expense of the nearby forest.

Environmental activists have been camping in the factory’s surroundings to oppose the plans. In tree-hugging style, they have built huts high in the trees where they spend the night. But these were convicted of the aggressive act of arson, stating they stood for peaceful opposition.

Who is Vulkangruppe?

Tesla’s Gigafactory near Berlin, inaugurated in 2022, manufactures the Model Y SUV for the European market. However, the factory’s location in a wooded area of the Brandenburg region has drawn criticism from environmental activists because of water contamination.

Not much is known about the exact nature and size of the Vulkangruppe, but they have been at it before. In 2021, they set fire to one of the electricity cables supplying energy to the builders of Tesla’s Gigafactory in Grünheide. One year earlier, they used the same tactics to shut down the Heinrich-Hertz-Institut in Berlin, highlighting opposition to their development of a corona app.


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