Tesla factory fire brigade checks a plant building at the Tesla Gigafactory in Gruenheide near Berlin, Germany, 05 March 2024. EPA-EFE/FILIP SINGER


Hard-left eco-arsonists set fire to Tesla’s Berlin gigafactory


Hard-left environmentalists set fire to a high-voltage transformer in Tesla’s Berlin-Brandenburg factory, resulting in a major power outage and a forced halt in production.

It was unclear if the fire was an act of sabotage before the environmentalist activists claimed responsibility for the arson.

The militant “Volcano group” said in a statement that it had “sabotaged Tesla”.

“We have eliminated the risk to our lives and the lives of others,” they added, saying they rejected “green capitalism”, while calling Tesla’s owner Elon Musk “a techno-fascist”.

The State Security Service has opened an investigation.

Brandenburg’s prime minister Dietmar Woidke said “attacks on our critical infrastructure are a form of terrorism.”

The local fire department first responded to the incident, after early morning reports of an explosion. A police aircraft was dispatched afterwards.

Electricity outages were reported in portions of Neukölln, Rahnsdorf, and Müggelheim in Berlin, according to operator Stromnetz Berlin. About 2,000 households were affected.

In a subsequent search, the police found a bomb warning in a protester’s nearby tent.

Workers on the night shift had to evacuate the building, while a bomb squad searched the area.

Workers from the morning shift were meanwhile not allowed in.

The bomb squad’s search of the “Gigafactory”, which Tesla calls “our most advanced, sustainable and efficient facility yet”, was expected to take many hours.

Michael Stübgen, the state of Brandenburg’s interior ministry, denounced the “perfidious attack” against the energy grid.

After consulting with electrical provider EDIS, Tesla indicated all necessary precautions had been taken to protect its production facilities, and said it did not anticipate a rapid restart of production.

In a reaction on X, owner Elon Musk called the arson “extremely dumb”.

In 2021, there was previous suspicion the “Volcano Group” had engaged in an arson attack on the Tesla construction site’s power supply.

On left-wing website Indymedia.org, the group criticised Tesla for not being socially, ecologically, or environmentally conscious.

The same Volcano group has been targeting radio masts, power cables and fibre optics cables for over a decade, calling these part of the surveillance state.

Environmentalists have meanwhile protested against an expansion of the Tesla gigafactory, and have occupied areas of a nearby forest.

Since last week Wednesday, green protesters built around twelve treehouses several meters above the ground in the woods.

The protesters, numbering between 60 and 100 persons, belong to the “Stop Tesla” initiative and the “Robin Wood” group.

The demonstrators say they want to prevent the Tesla expansion project from destroying the forest.

Tesla intends to expand its 300-hectare manufacturing complex by adding a freight station, warehouses, and an employee nursery. This would require clearing of more than 100 hectares of woodland.

The police have not to this point forced the environmentalist activists to leave the camp.

Die Welt notes in security circles, the radicalisation of the climate scene is an issue being watched with enormous concern.

Left-wing extremist groups and “join-in campaigns” are being mobilised around climate change. There have been a number of attacks by such bodies on infrastructure and companies.

In February, activists set fire to two Tesla vehicles and charging stations in Berlin in the name of the “Switch Off” campaign. They wrote in a confession letter: “Let the air out of the tyres of fat cars? Great. Even better: setting Teslas on fire everywhere! A few barbecue lighters and spring can begin!”

Tesla, owned by Elon Musk, employs around 12,500 people in the Berlin area.

Tesla Model Y, Europe’s most-sold vehicle in 2023, is built in Berlin. The company also makes its batteries there.

Tesla is hoping to produce a million vehicles annually in Berlin, once the facility’s expansion is complete.