Tesla Offers Ultra White Synthetic Leather Option For Model X To Appeal To Vegans

JAN 26 2016 BY MARK KANE 32

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

If you remember, Tesla was questioned about having an option for leather-free seats in its electric cars, at least in higher trim versions.

A synthetic leather option is what some buyers wanted, and now it seems synthetic leather seats are available – in the Tesla Model X.  Specifically, as Ultra White (there are also Tan and Black leather seats).

“Leilani Münter, a professional racecar driver and environmental advocate who is vegan, said she was disappointed when she first tried to buy the Model S and could not get the faster, sportier model without real leather seats.

She contacted Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder and chief executive, who helped her get the desired model with cloth seats, she said. Not too long after — faced with several complaints from similar-minded would-be customers — the company made cloth seats, only in black, an option for all models and trim packages, with a synthetic-leather-clad steering wheel available on special request.

The new seating option for the Model X goes a step further.

“Tesla revolutionized the electric car and now it’s redefined luxury interiors by using these vegan materials, which are both animal- and environmentally friendly,” said Anne Brainard, senior corporate liaison and manager of corporate affairs at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The group urged Tesla to stop using leather at its shareholder meeting last June and had since remained in discussions with the carmaker.”

Tesla Model S doesn’t have a synthetic leather option yet, so you still need to make special request for leather-free seats in the S.

We tracked down a few videos with Tesla Model X Ultra White seats:

Source: The New York Times

Categories: Tesla

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32 Comments on "Tesla Offers Ultra White Synthetic Leather Option For Model X To Appeal To Vegans"

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I wonder if there have been any significant advancements to synthetic leather since the thigh scorching vinyls of the 80s.

Perhaps someone with a B-Class that has MB-Tex upholstery can chime in? Got ours in November, so I won’t know for a few months. My understanding is that it’s glorified vinyl. I like it so far, though. In 25F to 35F overnight weather, it doesn’t seem to get as cold as the leather in the FFE it replaced.

No. You can texture plastic to reduce the contact with skin, you can perforate it for ventilation. There is no magic. I worked for over a decade at a textile research institute. My favorite joke was “wicking” synthetics.

Thanks Tesla! Hope this carries over to all of their models.

Personally, it astounds me that people consider leather seats to be “high end”. Leather is cold in the winter, hot and sticky in the summer. Even perforated leather don’t breathe as well as fabric-covered seats.

People will spend thousands of dollars on options when buying a new car, yet somehow the idea that they’d need to spend a few hundred dollars to either re-upholster or replace cloth-covered seats just once during the ~7 years that the average person owns a car, is unthinkable to them. Very strange!

When it comes time that cloth-covered seats are looking a bit shabby, if (like me) you’re not rich, you can buy slightly used cloth-covered seats from a junkyard, and have your auto shop replace the seats fairly cheaply. (Or, if you’re handy, do it yourself.) Really, this is a no-brainer for those who want seats which are actually comfortable to sit in, winter or summer.

“hot and sticky in the summer”?

You must only have experience with “Corinthian leather”

Okay, to be more accurate: it’s my back, not the leather itself, that gets hot and sweaty… and therefore my shirt sticks to it… when I’m sitting on a leather car seat, which doesn’t breathe, on a hot summer day.

No such problem sitting on a cloth-covered car seat.

Maybe twenty years ago, I could reupholster my own seats; I did just that with a Triumph Spitfire I restored.

But I won’t even consider reupholstering any seats in modern vehicles. I’m not messing with the airbags contained within.

So when the cloth seats get shabby, they’ll just have to stay that way for quite a while before I’d replace the seats or have them reupholstered.

However, I’ve never had any problems with wear on modern cloth seats. I consider myself lucky, as I often see other car seats of similar ages that don’t look near as nice as mine.

michael said:

“But I won’t even consider reupholstering any seats in modern vehicles. I’m not messing with the airbags contained within.”

Hmmmm, I didn’t realize that side airbags are often contained inside the seat itself, in newer cars. Well, learn something new every day.

That certainly would be a consideration when replacing the seat, and you’re right, reupholstering in such a case would be right out. You’d need to have an authorized service center to do a replacement, and it also means the seat is gonna be a lot more expensive. 🙁 “Do not try this at home!”

Completely agree. Cloth seats actually don’t look shabby when the car ages if looked after, leather gradually gets that awful shine to it. Not to mention the hot cold arguments. Give me a nice cloth any day of the week.

I’m actually surprised that Tesla doesn’t offer Alcantara on the seats, perhaps with an option for leather bolsters?

Never seen a cloth Tesla, what does the fabric feel like? Is it soft, or rock hard like most modern cars trying to make you spring for cow?

That is gonna look great when it is filled with a muddied up team of kid soccer players after a game.

Then again, I guess not many people will buy an $80K to $100K SUV to be a soccer mom.

Cows are vegan, too.


The article mentions People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA. I’m a member of the other PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals. 😉

Can’t you be a member of both PETAs? Just because you think animals ought to be treated “ethically” doesn’t mean you refuse to eat them. 🙂

All kidding aside, I once skimmed thru an issue of PETA’s magazine, out of curiosity. They characterize eating meat as an “addiction”, and consider it morally wrong to use even leather which is a byproduct of the meat packing industry.

I consider those positions rather extreme. Evolution made me an omnivore, not a herbivore. As someone once said: “My ancestors didn’t claw their way to the top of the food chain so I could eat tofu!” 😉

That makes me a “second hand vegan”.

I’m no vegan, not even close, but I like the ultra white seats on this model X. I owned an SUV with light beige leather interiors and had a big problem with denim-leather transfer, basically if you are wearing jeans, a blue hue will transfer to your seats where there is contact leaving a relatively new SUV looking old and dirty. If these vinyl white seats avoid this, I’m all up for it. I believe this “synthetic leather” is stronger and resist cracks better than leather. My brother bought his wife an ES350 with the synthetic leather and it was really nice.

Possibly the most common minor problem in current discussion on the Tesla Motors Forum, regarding the Model X, is “color transfer” (or more accurately, dye transfer) from blue jeans. Tesla is using a new type of softer leather, which apparently is particularly sensitive to dye transfer from clothing, especially blue jeans.

Several people have suggested getting a towel which matches the seat color to sit on, to avoid blue jeans dye transfer.

I have no idea if the faux leather will have the same problem with dye transfer, but common sense says there is no reason to expect the same problem with a different material.

Indigo dyes, used on jeans, do not bond strongly to cotton, let alone synthetics. That is why you get the rapid, uneven fading that people like. It should be easy to remove from synthetic leather. The hard part is getting dyes to stick to synthetics. It takes some heavy duty chemistry.

Bad news ultra-lefties:

Synthetic leather is made from *GASP* OIL BASED PRODUCTS!!!!

The only alternative these days is to go Amish.

Real leather is also made from oil based corn. And it pumps methane out the back end.

“oil based corn”?????

Well crud, best give up then.

Good point Scott. I bet those same lefties would prefer real leather seats if they were made from the hides of republicans.

Musk: “Introducing the new Model X, now with rich Trumpian leather!”


I’m not a vegan, so no dog in that fight.

But I like high quality cloth, just not black. I don’t understand why the only cloth option is black.

I’m sort of OK with leather but some nice light-colored cloth would be awesome. Perhaps for the Model III? Hopefully it will cater to more plebeian tastes.

I love the BMW i3 with the grey cloth interior,,,


Why the hell would you want white interior

Comment? Why the hell would you want to comment about what other people like. Obviously there are plenty of people that like the white interior because they are making it…



Why the hell would you want black exterior”


why would you want white interior….. same reason you want to buy an awesome 150k suv that goes 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds….

because you can, and it feels so good.