Power restored at Tesla Gigafactory after far-left activist sabotage

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Power is restored earlier than expected at the Tesla gigafactory near Berlin after a week-long outage caused by arson, the factory’s chief said Monday.

A far-left activist group called Vulkangruppe, translated as the Volcano Group, had claimed responsibility for an arson attack on a nearby electricity pylon that knocked out the factory’s power on March 5. 

“Lights ON!” said Andre Theirig, senior director of manufacturing at Giga Berlin, in a LinkedIn post Monday. “The power supply to the Gigafactory has been restored for a few minutes. Now, under all safety precautions, the measures for the restart are in full swing.”

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E.dis, a division of German energy network firm E.ON, confirmed late Monday that the factory had been reconnected to the power grid over the weekend. It said Tesla was reconnected to the grid at 8:45 p.m. local time.

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“It will certainly take some time before we have fully resumed production, but the most important step has been taken! Power ON!” Theirig said.

“Many thanks to E.DIS for the quick recommissioning and to all those involved and especially to our employees for their support over the last few days,” he added. 

Tesla said earlier on Monday that production would gradually resume at the factory, which employs around 12,500 staff, after the power came back on. 

“It is not yet possible to say how long it will take until production can be fully resumed,” Tesla told Reuters in a statement.

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

The company had said last week it expected the outage to last at least until March 15.

Joerg Steinbach, the economy minister in Brandenburg, said E.dis employees had been working in a three-shift mode to ensure electricity could flow as soon as possible.

The outage prevented Tesla from meeting its production goal of around 1,000 cars per day, with the plant head saying the disruption would cost hundreds of millions of euros in damages.

The Volcano Group took credit for the arson in a 2,500-word letter attacking Tesla and CEO Elon 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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A general view of Tesla's gigafactory

“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.

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

Musk ripped the arson attack in several posts on X last week. 

“These are either the dumbest eco-terrorists on Earth or they’re puppets of those who don’t have good environmental goals,” Musk wrote. 

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

Reuters contributed to this report.

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