In the Grunheide district on the southeastern outskirts of Berlin, Tesla’s plans for expanding its first European automobile factory are facing resistance from local residents and environmental activists. Amidst this opposition, the Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin experienced a halt in production following a suspected arson attack at a nearby electricity substation, leading to a significant drop in Tesla shares.

Production Halt Following Suspected Arson

Tesla’s Gigafactory in Berlin was forced to pause production due to an arson attack targeting a nearby power grid, which is expected to leave the facility without power for several days. This incident has led to a temporary production stoppage, with Tesla’s Berlin factory head indicating that operations are unlikely to resume within the week. Following the attack, Tesla shares saw a decline of 4.5% in New York trading, amidst investor concerns over the company’s discounts and sales performance in China.

Tesla’s Response and Investigation

Following the incident, Tesla released a statement on the social media platform X, confirming the arson attack aimed at its operations and reassuring that there were no injuries. The company expressed its intention to restart factory operations as soon as possible. Brandenburg police are investigating the attack as arson, with the left-wing extremist group Vulkangruppe (Volcano Group) claiming responsibility for the sabotage, criticizing Tesla’s environmental impact.

Opposition to Tesla’s Expansion Plans

Tesla’s ambitions to expand its Gruenheide facility, aiming to double its battery production capacity and increase its car production to 1 million units per year, have been met with strong opposition. Local residents recently voted against the company’s plans to clear nearby forest areas for the expansion. Furthermore, environmental activists have begun occupying forests near the plant, building treehouses and planning to prolong their protest against Tesla’s environmental footprint.

Previous Incidents and Environmental Concerns

The recent suspected arson is not the first incident of its kind; in 2021, far-left activists claimed responsibility for a fire at the Tesla Gruenheide site, which was under construction at the time. These actions underscore the ongoing tension between Tesla’s industrial ambitions and environmental activism in the region.