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Far-left group “sabotages” Tesla factory in Germany

Photo: Patrick Pleul dpa via Associated Press Inaugurated in 2022, Tesla's gigafactory near Berlin produces the American manufacturer's flagship SUV, the Model Y, for consumers on the continent.

Léa Pernelle – Agence France-Presse in Frankfurt

March 5, 2024

  • Europe

A small far-left German group claimed Tuesday “sabotage” having forced the American electric car giant Tesla to stop its large European factory near Berlin, with damage estimated by the group at several hundred millions of euros.

The action taken against Tesla “aims to achieve the largest possible blackout of the manufacturer's Gigafactory”, declared the “Vulkan Gruppe” in a press release published on Indymedia, the activists' platform far left.

This movement, known to German general intelligence, had already claimed responsibility for an arson attack on a Tesla construction site in 2021.

He claims to be behind the arson attack which, in the early hours of the day, knocked out of service an electricity pylon located near the Tesla site, south of the German capital.

The American manufacturer's factory, the only one of its type in Europe, had to stop production due to the power outage, which also affected surrounding communities.

The American manufacturer already estimates that the economic damage reaches “a nine-figure amount”, without “any clear visibility” on when production will be able to restart, declared André Thierig, the factory director.

“We have over 12,000 employees that we currently cannot continue to employ,” he added.

For his part, the boss of Tesla, Elon Musk, reacted on his platform don’t have good environmental goals,” he lambasted.

“Stopping production of electric vehicles, rather than fossil fuel vehicles, is extremely stupid,” he added.

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“Killing Machines”

Tesla “eats land, resources, men, labor and to do so spits out 6000 SUVs, killing machines and monster trucks< /i> per week”, denounces the message from “Vulkan”.

Activists accuse the factory of “polluting the water table and (of) consuming enormous quantities of an already scarce drinking water resource for its products.”

Inaugurated in 2022, the Tesla Gigafactory produces the American manufacturer's flagship sports utility vehicle (SUV), the Model Y, for consumers on the European continent.

Its construction in a forested area of ​​the Brandenburg region, which surrounds Berlin, has sparked opposition from environmental groups. Their concerns were revived by Tesla's plan to expand the site to double production capacity.

During a consultative vote of the inhabitants of the municipality concerned in February, a large majority of votes were expressed against the extension.

The fire occurred while environmental activists have been occupying a forest near the factory since Thursday to oppose the expansion projects.

German environmental NGO Robin Wood, which is participating in this protest movement, has “rejected any link” with the sabotage.

Police announced the opening of an investigation into suspected arson, while local authorities also denounced an intentional act.

Hostility of the Scandinavian unions

This is a new problem to manage for Elon Musk's firm in Europe, already entangled in a social conflict in Sweden and slowed down on deliveries by attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea.

Currently, the group's German factory manufactures more than 250,000 electric cars per year with a long-term goal of 500,000 units.

Production at Grünheide was already halted in January due to problems with the delivery of spare parts while cargo ships transiting the Red Sea suffered attacks from Houthi rebels in Yemen.

In addition, Elon Musk's company faces hostility from Scandinavian unions in its workshops and reloading stations.

The conflict first broke out in Sweden, where, just like in Germany, the American refused to sign a sectoral collective agreement to protect its employees.

The Swedish union has been on strike for four months, followed by Danish and Norwegian employees.

This deteriorated social climate adds to growing business challenges. The American group sees its first place on the podium of electric car manufacturers called into question by the emergence of new competitors. In the last quarter of 2023, the Chinese BYD has already surpassed the American in terms of sales.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116