Musk visited Germany’s Tesla Gigafactory after alleged arson

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is pictured during a visit to the company’s electric car plant in Grünheide near Berlin, eastern Germany, on March 13, 2024, as employees resume work after production had to be halted due to a suspected fire that caused a power outage.

Sebastian Golnov | Getty Images

Elon Musk visited the Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin on Wednesday, which was forced to halt production last week after losing power during a suspected arson.

Pictures showed Musk waving to workers as he arrived at the factory in the German state of Brandenburg and addressing them on stage in a tent where employees gathered to welcome him.

Local media also reported that Musk told the crowd “I love you” in German, but his further comments were drowned out by a factory vehicle parked in front of journalists and blasting music.

Tesla workers stand outside and await the arrival of Tesla CEO Elon Musk outside the Tesla Gigafactory on March 13, 2024 near Gruenheide, Germany.

Maya Hitij | News from Getty Images | Getty Images

Musk is expected to meet with regional politicians during his visit to Germany, local media reported, citing government sources. CNBC could not independently verify the reports.

Last week, the Gigafactory was left without electricity and had to temporarily halt production after an alleged arson attack at a nearby electrical substation. Tesla said the incident was aimed at the company, in a statement on social media platform X.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc., arrives at the Tesla factory in Gruenheide, Germany, Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

Christian Bossi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The left-wing extremist group “Vulkangruppe” claimed responsibility for the attack in a letter published online criticizing Tesla’s environmental credentials. Regional authorities are still investigating the case.

The Brandenburg factory is slated for expansion, but the project has met with considerable opposition from local residents and environmental groups, as it would mean the destruction of the area’s forests. Activists have set up camp near the factory in protest.

The plant was able to rejoin the power grid earlier this week. Production resumed at the Gigafactory on Wednesday, Michaela Schmitz, president of the plant’s works council, told local radio channel rbb24, according to a CNBC translation.

Employees received their full wages during the work stoppage, she added.

A banner with the words “Elon” and “Eloff” hangs in the camp of the “Stop Tesla” initiative in a pine forest near the Fangschleuse near the Tesla Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg.

Sebastian Golnov | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

Tesla Manufacturing shared on Wednesday a video from inside a factory on social media platform X, with the caption: “We’re back.” The post was shared from Musk, who also thanked the Gigafactory team.

“Thanks to the hard work of the Tesla Giga Berlin team and community support, the factory is back online!” he said.

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