Tesla factory in Germany halts production after suspected arson

Tesla factory in Germany halts production after suspected arson

March 5, 2024, 11:21 GMT

Updated 1 hour ago

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Firefighters were at the Tesla factory on Tuesday morning to check safety

Tesla halted production at its car factory in the German capital Berlin on Tuesday morning after a suspected arson attack was carried out nearby.

A utility pole near the plant caught fire, causing power outages at the plant and surrounding towns.

Environmental activists protesting the expansion of the site denied responsibility for the fire.

Tesla said workers had been sent home but that the building was in a “safe condition.”

The fire did not reach the electric car maker's factory itself, but burned a power pole and high-voltage cables.

“The constitutional state will react to such an act of sabotage with the utmost severity,” said Brandenburg’s Interior Minister Michael Stübgen.

However, he warned against “hasty speculation” about who was responsible for the alleged arson.

Around 100 environmental activists are currently camping in the forest near the factory and protesting against the expansion.

Robin Wood, one of the environmental groups in the forest, told the BBC it had “nothing to do with the fire”.

Tesla wants to double the size of its factory – the only one in Europe – but demonstrators are against it because it would require felling surrounding trees.

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Protesters have set up treehouses in the forest near the factory

The Tesla factory currently produces around 500,000 cars a year – the company owned by Elon Musk wants to double this number.

“We cannot currently say when production can be expected to resume,” Tesla said in a statement to AFP news agency.