The electric car manufacturer Tesla has to largely stop production in Grünheide near Berlin for around two weeks due to attacks by the Yemeni Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. As transport routes are shifting, a gap has arisen in the supply chains, as Tesla announced. This will be the first time such a production stop will occur in Grünheide from the end of January.

“Due to missing components, we are therefore forced to suspend vehicle production in the Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg with the exception of a few areas between January 29th and February 11th. Production will resume in full from February 12th.” , the company explained.

“The armed conflicts in the Red Sea and the associated shifts in transport routes between Europe and Asia via the Cape of Good Hope are also affecting production in Grünheide,” said Tesla. “The significantly longer transport times create a gap in the supply chains.”

Houthi rebel attacks: Shipping companies avoid the Red Sea

Since the Gaza war broke out between Israel and the Islamist Hamas, the Houthi rebels in Yemen have repeatedly attacked ships with alleged Israeli connections in the Red Sea. Large shipping companies are therefore increasingly avoiding the important trade route. Around ten percent of all world trade passes through the Red Sea.

The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea route between Asia and Europe. The alternative route around the South African Cape of Good Hope is much longer.

Tesla has been producing electric cars in Grünheide since March 2022. Around 11,500 employees work there. Tesla wants to double production in Grünheide from the targeted 500,000 cars per year to one million per year. According to its own information, the company currently produces more than 250,000 vehicles annually. The storage capacity of battery cell production is expected to increase from 50 to 100 gigawatt hours per year. Environmentalists have concerns about the expansion.