After the Tesla attack: investigations into unconstitutional sabotage

The attack on the power supply of the only European Tesla factory in Grünheide near Berlin has led to investigations into unconstitutional sabotage.

After the Tesla attack: investigations into unconstitutional sabotage

The attack on the power supply of the only European Tesla factory in Grünheide near Berlin has led to investigations into unconstitutional sabotage.

The prosecution for the Tesla arson attack is also being conducted for disruption of public operations and arson, said spokeswoman for the Frankfurt (Oder) public prosecutor's office, Carola Ochs. “The investigations are still being carried out in all directions against unknown persons and are ongoing.” The Federal Prosecutor General has been informed about the proceedings. "He will decide whether he will take charge of the investigation."

Production at the Tesla factory will likely remain interrupted until the end of next week - much longer than previously thought. The company announced this on Wednesday evening. Plant manager André Thierig estimated the damage on Tuesday at hundreds of millions of euros. However, he assumed that there would only be a failure this week.

On Tuesday, previously unknown perpetrators set fire to an electricity pylon in a field that is also responsible for supplying the Tesla factory. Production was stopped. Tens of thousands of residents were affected by a power outage. The left-wing extremist “Vulkan Group” had declared that it was responsible for the attack. The police believe a letter of confession is genuine. She is looking for witnesses who noticed the crime on Tuesday night or who can provide information about suspects.

Faeser for tough action against left-wing extremists

After the attack, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) is calling for tough action against left-wing extremists. "It appears to have been a suspected left-wing extremist attack; it was a serious arson attack that left many, many thousands, especially households, without electricity," the minister told the German Press Agency on Thursday. She also condemns the attack very strongly because it caused the power to go out in clinics and doctors' offices, which could be life-threatening.

“To be honest, it is a phenomenon for us that we have seen in recent years that left-wing radicalism is becoming tougher, more violent and does not shy away from such actions,” said Faeser in a video interview. “And tough action must now be taken.” The public prosecutor's office must take action, "and you must also feel severe punishments." Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) condemned the attack on Wednesday and called it a “crime”.

Some supermarket customers stood in front of partly empty shelves after the attack - but that is about to change: a large Edeka logistics center in Freienbrink near Grünheide, which supplies around 500 markets in Berlin and Brandenburg, is still affected by a power outage. With the help of ten emergency generators, delivery traffic for chilled and frozen goods started again, a company spokeswoman said. However, the power supply is still interrupted: "Current forecasts assume that it will be restored at the end of next week." According to Edeka, the supply of fresh goods was previously significantly restricted, and the retail chain redirected delivery flows via Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony.

Interior Minister calls for more protection

Brandenburg's Interior Minister Michael Stübgen (CDU) believes that important networks and systems in Germany are not sufficiently protected. “We have to be alarmed because this attack the day before yesterday showed that we have many such critical infrastructure points in Germany that are in fact not protected,” said Stübgen on Deutschlandfunk. He wants to analyze where there are points where perpetrators could cause the greatest damage using simple means. At the power pole that was the target of the attack, the power cable was led from the air into the ground. Fences and cameras as well as other power lines are necessary.

Car researcher sees less damage

Industry expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer estimates the previously expected damage from Tesla's production stop in Grünheide to be less than the company. "In my opinion, given the current market situation, the pure loss of production for a week is more comparable to damage of perhaps 100 million euros," said the director of the Center for Automotive Research in Bochum to the German Press Agency. "A nine-figure sum is already a high number, which is only understandable if there was very high damage to machines as a result of the fire at Tesla."

Dudenhöffer sees opportunities for the car manufacturer to compensate for the failure. “They can’t build cars at the moment. But the demand for electric vehicles is also bad at the moment,” said Dudenhöffer. "In February, Tesla brought 22 percent fewer vehicles onto the market in Germany with around 6,000 new registrations than in the same month last year." Tesla demand is also suffering in markets like China. “Therefore, in my opinion, the Tesla factories in Shanghai and the USA are currently not being used to capacity and can “absorb” the Grünheide outages.”

The “Turn Off the Tap to Tesla” alliance is calling for a protest against the company on Sunday. A spokeswoman said the “Volcano Group” was not part of the alliance. Tesla rejected allegations of a lack of environmental protection: “Only 2.28 cubic meters of water are required for giga production per vehicle,” wrote Tesla manager Rohan Patel on the X portal (formerly Twitter). That is a third less than the industry average of 3.68 cubic meters of water.