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It has happened again. The famous Tesla repair and hot rod shop has burned down again. This is the second time in three years a fire has destroyed the shop. The last one in 2017 destroyed some rare Tesla Roadsters and even a tZero prototype. 

More than 30 rare Tesla Roadsters were lost in the Gruber Motors fire

Tesla Roadster
Tesla Motors in San Carlos, California | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Phoenix Fire Department was on the scene around 3 AM on October 15, 2021. A second hazardous materials team was called due to the multitude of lithium-ion batteries. This time more Tesla Roadsters have burned up. It is estimated that up to 30 Roadsters were destroyed this time. There is a reason why Gruber is a magnet for the Roadster. He developed a way to discover dead battery cells. Bricking rendered the batteries non-op. 

The Phoenix-based shop became famous for its ability to fix Roadster bricking problems. While Tesla would only offer to sell a new battery, Gruber was able to unbrick those batteries. He would only replace the offending cell, allowing the battery to resume service. It was one of the very few shops that could do it. 

In the last fire several Tesla Roadsters and a tZero EV were destroyed

But five Tesla Roadsters and an AC Propulsion tZero EV were lost the first time. While the contents of the shop have not been revealed this time, it is expected that many more Roadsters burned up. This is a different facility than the first shop. No one was injured in either fire.

From eyewitness accounts, most of the Gruber Motors interior including the workshop was destroyed, as was the roof. It took a large hazardous material team to clean up the area. Three commercial buildings stored the Teslas that are in for service.  Preliminary inspections revealed the fire broke out at an electrical panel in the service center. 

Here is Peter Gruber’s complete statement: 

2010 Tesla Roadster
2010 Tesla Roadster | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

“Each of the owners affected by our fire last night has been contacted. I personally reached out to each of you affected by a lost Roadster, rather than have you find out through the media. Talking to each of you, I am again reminded of how cherished these cars are, how much they meant to you, and what a special place they carve out in automotive history. You all have my sincerest apologies and I feel your pain, having lost three in this mishap as well. I wish it was otherwise. 

“We have three commercial buildings involved with Tesla vehicles, and the fire occurred in our main work in process Service Center. Early analysis by the first fire inspectors isolated the cause of an electrical panel failure, which of course will be investigated more thoroughly. Many other Roadsters survived, and each of you has been contacted as well. As with a previous fire we had in May of 2017, this fire again consumed the entire building and all its contents, which illustrates the potent nature of lithium-ion vehicles once they ignite. 

“Our GMC expansion building, which has been under construction, is fully sprinkled. In the meantime, we are again relocating operations into one of our other buildings. Along with the entire Tesla community, we grieve the loss of over 30 Teslas that perished in our shop, which is dedicated to normally preserving and credited with saving hundreds of this rare and dying breed of first-generation EV’s.”


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