Tesla: pricey cars, Ikea desks

November 12, 2011

The electric cars made by Tesla Motors may be affordable only for the better-heeled, but that doesn’t stop CEO Elon Musk from injecting a common-man touch at his company’s Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters.

The desks, several hundred in one cavernous room, come from Ikea. Just two people have offices– the HR and legal heads. “It comes with heavy responsibilities,” joked Arnnon Geshuri, vice president for human resources, about his tiny office– which with its big window onto the main work floor still is far from private.

The egalitarian touch goes for Musk as well, who when in Palo Alto sits in the same room as the rank and file. He gets a corner spot, more room, and a few plants, but his workspace looks much like everyone else’s. Typically, he’s in the office about two days a week, employees say, and spends much of the rest of his time in Southern California, home to his space-exploration company SpaceX.

Unfortunately for Tesla’s workers, the democracy cuts in several directions. The base pricetag of the $109,000 Tesla Roadster and the $57,400 Model S sedan come with no employee discounts.

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