Musk rips purported eco-terrorists for suspected arson at Tesla Gigafactory: ‘Extremely dumb’

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk slammed a suspected arson attack on his Gigafactory near Berlin as “extremely dumb” after far-left activists claimed responsibility.

German authorities said a fire brigade responded Tuesday after an electricity pylon close to the facility was set ablaze, knocking out power and forcing production to stop. The head of Tesla’s factory – Musk’s first in Europe – told Reuters power is expected to be down for several days and confirmed the site was evacuated. 

In an update on Wednesday, German media reported the factory will remain without power until at least the end of next week. 

A purported far-left activist organization called the Volcano Group took credit for the incident in a 2,500-word letter attacking Tesla and Musk that was distributed to local media. Police said they were aware of the letter, which was signed “Agua De Pau,” the name of a volcanic mountain in the Azores, and said they were checking its authenticity.

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“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. 

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“Stopping production of electric vehicles, rather than fossil fuel vehicles, ist extrem dumm,” he said, using the German for “extremely dumb”.

Authorities have vowed consequences for whoever set the pylon on fire. The damage temporarily knocked out power for several surrounding communities. 

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“If the initial findings are confirmed, this will be a perfidious attack on our electricity infrastructure,” said local Brandenburg state Interior Minister Michael Stuebgen, according to Reuters.

“That will have consequences. Here, thousands of people were cut off from basic services and put in danger,” he said, adding that the state would react with the “utmost severity.” But Stuebgen cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the possible perpetrators.

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Workers repair an electricity pylon that was set ablaze near Tesla's Gigafactory

The area around Tesla’s Gigafactory has been targeted by various environmental protests since Musk opened the facility two years ago. 

“We sabotaged Tesla,” the Agua De Pau letter stated, per Reuters. The letter described the attack as a gift for International Women’s Day on March 8.

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A general view of the electricity pylon that was set on fire near Tesla's Gigafactory in Germany

“Tesla consumes earth, resources, people, workers, and in return spits out 6,000 SUVs, killer cars and monster trucks each week,” it stated.

Plans for Tesla to expand its factory site, which manufactures about 500,000 electric cars per year, were opposed by local residents who voted down a motion to cut trees down for construction, Reuters reported. 

Tesla aims to double the site’s capacity to 100 gigawatt hours of battery production and 1 million cars per year, which would position Musk to dominate the European market.  

Environmental activists have built and occupied tree houses in the forested area around the plant they expect to be cleared if the expansion is approved.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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