A fire broke out yesterday morning near the German Tesla factory. The factory ran out of electricity and was forced to stop production. The BZ newspaper wrote immediately after the incident that the authorities on the scene found a sign saying 'bombs buried here', a message that immediately led to speculation that environmentalists who are against the expansion of the factory were behind the fire.

In the afternoon, in fact, an organisation calling itself the Volcano Group claimed responsibility for the fire in a letter posted on an alternative website. 'Today we sabotaged Tesla,' the note says, but does not name the individual perpetrators.

An interruption that cost dearly

The police said that they had received a phone call that morning warning of an electrical pylon on fire in the area near the plant. The flames did not reach the Tesla plant, which, however, was evacuated for safety reasons and production was stopped. 

The plant manager, Andre Thierig said that the lines will probably be shut down for a week, but there is no exact date for a return to operation. 'The interruption will last until the plant's electricity supplier has restored the supply,' explains Automotive News Europe, to which Thierig stated that, "The cost of the interruption is around nine figures."

The objections

The construction of the Gigafactory near Berlin has always been much debated. Environmentalists were immediately opposed to its construction because a large portion of forest would have to be cut down to make way for it (which was then felled to build it).

In addition, the water from which the factory draws is drinkable and it is feared that it will be used for car production rather than for distribution to the population in the vicinity and that the aquifer itself could be polluted by the factory.

The Berlin Gigafactory expansion project

Tesla has, however, built its Gigafactory and is planning to expand it. At the moment the capacity is about 500,000 cars per year and the goal is to double it. Citizens in neighbouring areas disagree and recently voted down a motion opposing a larger site. To prevent the expansion, a hundred environmentalists have protested in recent days by erecting tree houses and platforms on the ground.

Gallery: Tesla Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg County Fair