Tesla Berlin gigafactory to take week-long nap after suspected arson

Losses could surpass €1B as 1,000 vehicles a day go unfinished

Tesla's Berlin gigafactory, the company's only production plant in Europe, is still offline following a suspected arson attack days ago, and may remain so for another week.

E.DIS, the German utility company whose equipment was damaged in the alleged arson attack by left-wing activists intent on disrupting expansion of Tesla's operations in the city of Grünheide, said yesterday that police had finally cleared the area, allowing repair operations to begin. 

"E.DIS emergency services are working with the highest priority … on a temporary technical solution to resupply the previously unsupplied industrial settlement and production as well as the logistics center as quickly as possible," the company said in a German-language statement automatically translated by The Register.

News reports say that more than 60,000 residents in communities throughout Brandenburg and parts of Berlin lost power due to the fire, for which the left-wing eco extremist Volcano Group has claimed responsibility. E.DIS said yesterday that "all affected communities have now been able to be supplied again," though not "a large industrial settlement and production facility and a logistics center," likely referring at least in part to the Tesla gigafactory.

According to German tabloid Bild, E.DIS officials told Tesla it would likely be without power for another week. Tesla told Reuters the outage would last until March 17 – next Sunday.

If accurate, Volcano Group's stated goal of causing "the largest possible blackout" of the gigafactory appears to have been a partial success.

Berlin gigafactory manager André Therig told local media outlets he believes production losses from work stoppage at the plant could reach into the "high nine-figure range," though that number was based on an assumption that the plant would be back online by Monday, March 11. Add six more days and Tesla's losses ramp even higher.

Therig said the plant, which employs more than 12,000 people, produces more than 1,000 Tesla vehicles daily. With the plant having gone offline Tuesday and remaining offline until March 17, that would put the factory some 13,000 vehicles behind schedule. 

Ben Kallo, analyst at Baird Equity Research, revised Tesla's delivery outlook down by 67,900 vehicles in a report Wednesday, citing "a series of one-time production disruptions" that include the fire and a production pause earlier this year due to supply chain interruptions from Houthi piracy in the Red Sea. 

"These are either the dumbest eco-terrorists on Earth or they're puppets of those who don't have good environmental goals," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said of the suspected arson attack. "Stopping production of electric vehicles, rather than fossil fuel vehicles, ist extrem dumm." ®

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