PETA Says They Forced Tesla To Build 'Vegan Cars'

Illustration for article titled PETA Says They Forced Tesla To Build 'Vegan Cars'

If you want to buy a Tesla that doesn’t have airbags filled with moist, succulent ground beef or a dash covered in the finest Nova Scotia salmon, you’re in luck, because the Tesla Model X will be available in vegan-friendly trim. PETA is claiming this is in response to them, but Tesla disagrees.

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The non-vegan parts of the car are, in case you were wondering, the leather used for the seating and interior. As far as I know, Tesla has never used whalebone for its A-pillars or anything like that.

Tesla claims they’ve always had non-leather options for their interiors, in the form of cloth seats, but if you’re vegan and want things to feel like they’re covered in the skin of a dead animal, but really aren’t then you’ve been out of luck. Well, until now.

For the Model X, Tesla is now offering synthetic leather, so vegans won’t really have to give up anything when they buy a Tesla. I’m also told that the synthetic cows the synthetic leather comes from are kept on an free-range synthetic ranch, and are treated with dignity by synthetic ranchers until they’re slaughtered, virtually, in a painless manner that’s also accepted as synthetic Kosher, as certified by the Chief Synthetic Rabbi of Synthetic (and Ashkenazi) Judaism.

Illustration for article titled PETA Says They Forced Tesla To Build 'Vegan Cars'

PETA first pitched the Vegan car idea to Tesla back in June. PETA is a Tesla shareholder, and blogged about Tesla’s decision today, in a post titled “Tesla Launches All-Vegan Car After PETA Appeal”:

When PETA, a Tesla Motors shareholder, spoke at Tesla’s 2015 annual meeting to urge the company to offer only vegan leather for its car interiors, CEO Elon Musk said he would “absolutely” consider it. Since then, PETA has been working with Tesla, and this month, the electric-car leader launched Model X—its highly anticipated SUV—which is available with a fully vegan interior, including seats, steering wheel, and gear shift.

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While PETA may have had some influence, it’s not like this hasn’t been discussed before; entries on Tesla boards about this very issue go back to 2012. Besides, the market demographics of Tesla buyers likely include a somewhat higher-than-normal percentage of wealthy, showy vegans, so it’s hardly a surprising option for them to offer.

It’s an electric car. Sustainability is a big reason why many people buy these, and veganism is often part of that mindset.

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So, there you go! If you’re a vegan who’s too good for cloth, get in line for your Model X. But I don’t think we need to give PETA all the credit for this one.


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.

DISCUSSION

potbellyjoe
PotbellyJoe and 42 others

I went to a wedding where there was no alcohol allowed. They toasted with sparkling grape juice.

I couldn’t figure it out. If you’re anti-alcohol, which is fine it’s an industry that some don’t wish to support, why appear like you are supporting them, and at that why use a terrible product to prop up that facade?

I’d rather have toasted with a glass of Coca-Cola, or something similarly delicious. Shoot, we were in Mississippi, let’s toast with sweet tea.

So where am I going with this?

When Toyota brought out the Gen 2 Prius and at the time gas went crazy, we had a lot of customers looking for loaded Prius vehicles with all of the options, but cloth seats, or at least non-animal seats.

These were not PETA-heads. They simply didn’t like the idea of an animal dying for their butts to sit on. Fine, valid to some extent, but Toyota built cars to “mass customization” plans. So a loaded Prius was a loaded Prius.

We actually had individuals take the seat covers off of the Prius 4s and 5s with leather and swap them with the covers from the Prius 2s and 3s. As a dealer we didn’t care so long as they signed paperwork that they wanted the leather seats. We then could sell a Prius with leather that didn’t have to get Nav and some other items that drove the price up $3000.

I eat meat, wear leather, etc. So to me it seemed like a wasted exercise, but to some it’s super important.

So my question, similar to my wedding question, why make a synthetic surface for sitting in that looks like leather if you are anti-leather? They have materials that are super comfy and hold up well that aren’t trying to look like leather, but are simply the pinnacle of cloth seats. Wouldn’t you 1. want a better product? and 2. make a clearer statement about being anti-leather?