Tesla Shareholders Get Leather-Free Model S

SEP 26 2015 BY MARK KANE 39

"We'll look into it," Elon Musk

“We’ll look into it,” Elon Musk

Tesla Motors shareholders Mark Peters and Elizabeth Farrell Peters raised the issue of the lack of  leather-free choices for Model S.

As it turns out, only the base versions are “leather-free”, and vegans complain that they can’t buy higher trim Teslas, because some options are tied to leather seating.

This is a common problem for all carmakers, as most premium models are sold with leather seats/steering wheel, and offering leather-free trims affects production profitability.

Elon Musk said at the Tesla annual meeting in June that he will look into it, but for now consumers need to place a special request for non-leather versions.

“Tesla Motors shareholders Mark Peters and Elizabeth Farrell Peters had a simple request for the electric-car maker at its annual meeting in June: Stop offering leather interiors and make Tesla the first “cruelty-free” premium brand. Shareholders rejected the proposal after Tesla’s board said it would delay production of its electric cars. But Tesla CEO Elon Musk seemed intrigued. “We’ll look into it,” he said. Last month, the Peterses took delivery of a leather-free Tesla Model S, the second one in their Hurst, Texas, garage.”

Source: Autoblog

Categories: Tesla


Leave a Reply

39 Comments on "Tesla Shareholders Get Leather-Free Model S"

newest oldest most voted

I’m not vegan. But I am still not a fan of leather. I think it looks nice, but i prefer the feel of fabric, especially on really hot or really cold days. I suppose leather is easier to clean, but I don’t allow food or drink in my car so that is rarely an issue. I have always found it annoying that the high-end trims on cars always include leather. Even the Volt is like that. If you want certain features beyond a base model, then you must get leather.

+1. I went from a high end BMW to a base-model toyota hybrid and one of my concerns were the lack of leather seats but I just couldn’t be happier honestly. Even with 3 young children and the occasional milk spill new cloth seats are actually pretty easy to clean. Also, no more spending 1 hour of my time every 3-4 months to apply 15$-a-bottle leather care cream to prevent cracking issues. I just don’t have to care anymore. One year later I still miss my sunroof from the bmw though 🙂

+100 Agreed.
Leather doesn’t breath, it’s hot in summer and cold in winter. Some people value status more than comfort.

On the other hand most manufacturers aren’t putting much effort into Nice cloth seats these days.

Totally agree. Leather is too hot and sticky in California. Wish I could get premium upgrades (sunroof, etc.) and stick to cloth.

Exactly – I sweat like a pig (even though pigs don’t sweat) down my back and seat whenever I’m sitting in a leather seat for more than about 15 minutes, whether it’s a car seat or home furnishing. I hate leather.

In fact, that’s the reason that my current vehicle doesn’t have heated seats – because it was bundled with the leather package, as usual. I really resent that fact – always have.

Mike777 said:

“Leather doesn’t [breathe], it’s hot in summer and cold in winter. Some people value status more than comfort.”

Indeed! I can’t figure out why people consider leather seats to be an “upgrade”. To me, fabric seats are the upgrade!

Sure, leather will last longer, but is it really that big a deal to get your car seats reupholstered once in the lifetime of the car?

Yes, it is a very big deal if your car has side impact airbags built into the seats. I don’t know who I would trust with reupholstering seats like that.

I don’t know if Tesla seats have these.

Holy crap. I’ve lived long enough to watch Vegan’s piss and moan about leather seats in a car and wanting cloth seats. An automaker is not asking you to eat the seats, just sit on them. If you don’t like leather seats then buy a car that doesn’t have them…unless there’s someone out there that is against cotton plants being killed and used for making seat covers in cars. Buy the damn car and then get the seats recovered in something that doesn’t assault you sensitive self. Jeez people…get a flippin life!


There is a large industry of aftermarket auto suppliers. Why not take advantage of one of those, if you want a custom modification for your car?

You can’t please everyone. Even Tesla can’t do the impossible.

If you configure a Model S P90D you’ll see the leather is still an option. It comes with the standard textile seats.

I’m all for reducing the need for killing animals. However, leather in car lasts 10-20 years.

My advise would be to treasure Leather, know its value.

Besides the killing aspect and the human health aspect there also is the CO2 aspect.

Meat is extremely energy intensive and has a horrible CO2 footprint.

But isn’t there a large surplus of leather? As in no one kills animals for their leather it’s just left over of the meat industry. If so there is no extra harm done to animals and co2 emissions. Or is this assumption wrong.

You beat me to it. I was about to ask the same question.

Leather processing is one of the most environmentally damaging industries. You can literally smell a leather factory from miles away. There is a reason most leather is processed in poorly regulated countries.

I guess you have never been to a metal foundry before.

Pj said:

“But isn’t there a large surplus of leather? As in no one kills animals for their leather it’s just left over of the meat industry. If so there is no extra harm done to animals and co2 emissions.”

That’s true. But you’ve made the mistake of using logic in response to an emotion-based vegan belief. PETA calls eating meat an “addiction” (yes, I’m serious — I read one of their magazines once) and considers it morally wrong to use cowhide leather, even when it’s merely a byproduct of making steaks and hamburger.

Keep in mind that California is Tesla’s #1 State market. There are a lot of vegans (or vegan sympathizers) in California!

Personally, I’m a member of that other PETA — People Eating Tasty Animals. 😉

Yum, llama chops.

If there wasn’t a surplus of leather left over from the meat industry, there would be a meat surplus left over from the leather industry.

One will always be an excuse for the other, for those who want an excuse not to change.

I don’t need an “excuse” to eat meat. I’m happy the human species evolved as an omnivore. My ancestors didn’t claw their way to the top of the food chain so I could eat tofu!

Many are killed just for their skins.
I saw a long and detailed dokumentary about it.
Cows are herded from India to neighbouring countries under brutal conditioned when they are stunned and skinned – often being very much aware of what is happening, along with of the presumable high pain assosiated with the process.

I do not need that on my consience by supporting this cruelty through being part of the demand for a caveman’s material of choice.


It’s all about complete utilization.

but the S90D high end seats don’t have a non leather option yet. Dead animal skins is still the only option. The Flintstones are just as advanced as some can get in seats.

You can order ANY Model S with the non-leather Multi Pattern Black seats. What is everyone complaining about?

What if you don’t like black?

Three leather colors and one cloth color. BTW, not a vegan, just don’t care for leather. Find cloth, if light colored, to be cooler, and grippier.

I prefer the i3 here. It has really nice cloth options.

Good idea. Let’s force Tesla to keep offering every option possible regardless of how unpopular. That way they’ll have to raise prices and fewer people can afford their cars. I prefer pink interior.

And you know that light-colored cloth would be unpopular how, precisely? Have you even read the comments here? Lots of people don’t care for leather.

90 or so % of the cars are ordered with leather. Be glad they even have a cloth option. Having 3 or 4 cloth color options is unrealistic. But then again most of the commenters here are unrealistic. Seriously, everytime a BEV is sold it saves thousands of gallons of oil. Then people still complain about a few patches of leather or color options. Let’s keep sight of the big picture.

ericonline said:

“Having 3 or 4 cloth color options is unrealistic.”

I’ll bet that if we look, we can find other “premium” auto makers that offer more fabric colors than that!

And I think I read on a Tesla forum some discussion of an off-white synthetic leather option. Add tan and gray to black and off-white, then you’ve got four colors that will match most color schemes.

Yeah, keep the cost down for us by making animals pay the ultimate price for us.

They are only there to serve the dominant species on the planet.

What options are tied to the leather seats?

I’ll have to go back and check, but I think the premium interior and lighting package requires leather seats.

Is there a bacon dispenser option? I’d like that.


Leathers don’t stain nearly as bad. I haven’t conditioned my leather seats for over 16 years and it still looks decent and easy to clean up.

Fabric seats are terrible at absorbing liquid spills. Scotchguard creates chemical smells and statics like crazy.

Once your kids puke in your car once or twice, you will quickly find out which version you like more… =)

Again, I am okay with high quality synthetics. It doesn’t have to be real leather. But leather can be a byproduct of the meat industry, I am okay of using them as long as I don’t order special premium leather like those offered on the RR or Bentley.

i dont have kids 🙂

I am not a fan of leather. It looks and feels great, but it is always too cold or warm. Once I had a Mercedes E320 with a high end fabric. It had so great comfort, not sweating, always a pleasant feel and temperature, easy to clean and no problems for 8 years. My current has a combination of fabric in the middle and synthetic leather on the sides. Could be an alternative too.

So maybe I’m the odd man out here, bit I’ve had leather seats in my cars since 2002, and I find them to be perfectly comfortable summer or winter. Wearing shorts in the summer my legs don’t sweat or stick to them, I find they acclimate to my temperature quickly, and I don’t need to use the heated seats very often in the winter.

What cars am I driving, you ask…

First a Hyundai Elantra GT and then a Hyundai Sonata Limited.

The one thing I will say, is about once a month or so, I wipe them down with a cleaner/protector wipe to keep them looking new.