Watch ads for luxury cars and you’ll inevitably hear about their “sumptuous” leather seats and interior trimmings. But what if you have gobs of money to spend on a car and don’t want it lined with leather (or boring old cloth)? That’s why Tesla now offers a new, vegan-friendly option for its pricey electric vehicles.
The company’s “Ultra White” interior option, currently only offered in the new Model X SUV, comes with synthetic leather seats, meaning that buyers don’t have to forgo the streamlined look of leather seats, reports The New York Times.
Tesla first began exploring an alternative interior option, aside from its cloth substitute, last year when two proposals were made at a shareholders meeting.
One proposal called for the company to stop using animal-based products, the other aimed to decrease the use of the products over time.
“We find that customers enjoy both leather and nonleather options for their Teslas,” Khobi Brooklyn, a company spokeswoman, tells the NYT. “We are committed to giving customers the ability to build the Tesla that meets their needs and lifestyle choices.”
Tesla created the new interior options, in part, after receiving criticism from potential customers who felt the company’s eco-friendly stance on limiting emissions made no sense when its cars included animal products.
Livestock around the world account for about 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Thus, argue critics, Tesla’s continued use of leather would be perpetuating the need for more livestock, which would release more gas.
While the interior package was created with consumers in mind, it also allows Tesla to carry over its “sustainable luxe” image that simple cloth-covered seats just don’t convey.
A Tesla shareholder who pressed the company to abandon animal products tell the NYT that the new interior is a good first step. Still, she realizes it would be hard for the car company to eliminate all instances of animal products.
“There’s ingredients in most everything that we see, wear and experience in our daily lives that somehow have utilized a part of an animal, which is unfortunate,” she said. “But if we know, then we can make a choice.”
From Tesla, a New Car Smell That Vegans Can Get Behind [The New York Times]