Overnight, Tesla made some changes to their available options, making some options standard, and notably eliminating one thing: leather seats. As of now, Tesla only sells vegan seats.
While this lack of leather is not made explicit on the Tesla configuration page, any mention of leather has been removed, and all upgraded interiors are now referred to with Tesla’s “premium” designation which they applied to the original rollout of vegan seats made of a new synthetic material.
However, not every component in a Tesla is vegan – cars still come with a leather-wrapped steering wheel standard, but Tesla has offered to provide a non-leather steering wheel upon request in the past for customers who make a point of avoiding all leather.
Tesla’s mission statement is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” While many are attracted to Teslas simply because of their incredible performance or for other reasons, it’s obvious that the point of an electric car company is to offer consumers a more environmentally-friendly choice. So, naturally, this would mean that many of Tesla’s customers would seek out an interior which doesn’t rely on bovine agriculture (which, while tasty, has quite a large environmental impact). And since there’s significant overlap between vegetarians/vegans and electric car buyers, this seems like a natural move by Tesla.
For any buyers who are worried about this because they traditionally prefer leather seats, Tesla’s vegan interiors have been getting good reviews from owners and seem quite durable and comfortable.
There was some concern over whether a vegan interior would be available on the Model 3. Since Tesla originally offered the vegan seats as a “premium” option, there was some worry that it would be restricted to the S and X. Soon after last year’s unveiling, though, Elon assured a fan that vegan interiors would indeed be available on the Model 3:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 4, 2016
However, we have recently learned that the Model 3 will originally be offered with very few options – basically just color and wheel size. So if all of Tesla’s interior seat options are vegan as of now, and if the Model 3 will have a vegan interior option…does this mean the Model 3 will only offer vegan seats? Or will they start with something more traditional, and offer vegan interiors further down the line once production and available options have expanded?
And, if Tesla’s seats are now all vegan, does this make them the first manufacturer to offer only vegan seat options?
Here’s a video from the shareholder meeting in 2015, where shareholders presented a proposal for Tesla to offer vegan seats. While the board recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal, Tesla ended up in-housing seat manufacturing and offering vegan seats later that year anyway, and now eliminating leather from the seats completely as of today: