Currently reading: Tesla Berlin Gigafactory restarts after arson attack by activists
German EV plant is reopened earlier than expected after repairs to damaged pylons were accelerated

Tesla has reopened its Berlin Gigafactory after a group of activists set fire to an electricity pylon servicing the factory and nearby towns.

After the week-long outage, production should gradually be ramped up to restore the factory to full production capacity. 

This was achieved earlier than expected after repairs to the damaged pylon were accelerated. Tesla hadn't expected to reopen the facility until the end of the week. 

Alexander Montebaur, MD of German energy firm E.DIS, said on social media: "After a weekend of intensive work around the clock and numerous crucial repairs - on what is now probably the most famous construction site in Germany - extensive high-voltage measurements lasting several hours took place today in Steinfurt."


It's unknown how much the closure cost Tesla, but reports suggest it could amount to a nine-figure sum. All of the facility's 12,500 workers were evacuated and didn't return to work until now.

The factory was forced to stop production after a group of activists set fire to an electricity pylon servicing the factory and nearby towns.

The activists, who call themselves the Volcano Group, published a 2500-word letter claiming responsibility for the attack while calling Tesla CEO Elon Musk a “technofascist”.

It accused Tesla of "consuming earth, resources, people, workers and in return spitting out 6000 SUVs, killer cars and monster trucks each week".

The letter was signed Agua De Pau – the name of a volcano in the Azores – and described the arson attack as a "gift" to mark this year's International Women's Day (8 March).

Musk responded to the attack 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. Stopping production of electric vehicles, rather than fossil fuel vehicles, ist extrem dumm."

The fire didn't spread to the factory itself but did leave it and the surrounding towns without power, because of heat damage to a high-voltage transmission line.

In the letter, the activists broke down exactly how they damaged the pylon: "We started the fire big and high with lots of car tires to weaken the steel structure and cause the mast to become unstable. This can lead to buckling effects, twisting or deflection. That was our intention."

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In day-to-day operation, the Berlin Gigafactory produces the Tesla Model Y crossover and battery cells for all Tesla EVs.

The attack came after Tesla revealed plans to expand the site – which it opened in March 2022 – to include a freight depot, warehouses and a kindergarten for workers' children. 

The expansion was halted by a 'Stop Tesla' campaign, in which protestors erected tents and built treehouses - a tactic said to be used frequently in German environmental protests - after concerns were voiced about the area's water supply and the felling of nearly 250 acres of forest.

Jonathan Bryce

Jonathan Bryce
Title: Editorial Assistant

Jonathan is an editorial assistant working with Autocar. He has held this position since March 2024, having previously studied at the University of Glasgow before moving to London to become an editorial apprentice and pursue a career in motoring journalism. 

His role at work involves writing news stories, travelling to launch events and interviewing some of the industry's most influential executives, writing used car reviews and used car advice articles, updating and uploading articles for the Autocar website and making sure they are optimised for search engines, and regularly appearing on Autocar's social media channels including Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

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lukeski 13 March 2024

That is very generous Marc, i really fail to see the arsonists side, in this,or indeed almost any case.

jason_recliner 13 March 2024

The curse of Brexit strikes again!

shiftright 5 March 2024

Eco-warriors making a fire by setting fire to a pile of tires? Yeah, smart!