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German federal prosecutors to probe Tesla plant sabotage

Musk visits Tesla's sabotage-hit German factory
Source: Pixabay

German federal prosecutors said Friday they had taken over investigations into a suspected arson attack this week that caused a power outage and forced Tesla to halt production at its plant near Berlin.

The federal prosecution’s office, responsible for investigating politically motivated crimes, will probe “an initial suspicion of membership of a terrorist organisation” as well as acts of sabotage and arson, a spokeswoman told AFP.

Production at Tesla’s Gruenheide electric car plant has been suspended ever since power lines supplying the factory were set on fire in the early hours of Tuesday.

Damage to the lines knocked out power to the plant as well as cutting electricity to surrounding villages.

Tesla expects it will take several more day before production can resume.

Far-left activists from the “Vulkangruppe” (Volcano Group) have claimed responsibility for the sabotage, saying they aimed to achieve “the biggest possible blackout of the gigafactory”, a reference to the Tesla plant.

The activists highlighted concerns about the environmental impact of the plant and the local water supply, at a time when Tesla is seeking to expand the site.

An outfit going by the same name claimed an arson attack on the power supply of the Tesla plant in 2021, according to a report from domestic intelligence services that same year.

Tesla owner Elon Musk called this week’s attack “extremely dumb” in a message on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The company has said the incident would cost it several hundred million euros in damages.

The plant, Tesla’s only European production site, started production in 2022 following an arduous two-year approval and construction process dogged by administrative and legal obstacles.

Tesla wants to expand the site by 170 hectares (420 acres) and boost production up to one million vehicles annually to feed Europe’s demand for electric cars and take on rivals who are shifting away from combustion engine vehicles.

But the plans have annoyed local residents, who voted against the project in a non-binding ballot last month.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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