Last June, Tesla shareholders Mark and Elizabeth Peters requested that the automaker look into making a version of its popular Model S with an all-vegan, animal-friendly interior.
"Tesla can continue to fill cars with the skins of sentient beings that suffer unspeakable horror," Elizabeth Peters told the company. "Or, Tesla can adopt one of the many faux-leather interiors used by Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, BMW, Infiniti and others, that are cruelty-free."
Ironically, Tesla already offers a completely vegan interior — but it's not necessarily something that's easy to discover unless requested.
"If they want no leather in their car, the customer would choose the Multi-Pattern black seats which have a synthetic leather trim and then custom-order a vegan steering wheel," company spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn told Bloomberg.
With its new Model X, Tesla decided to once and for all make the process of ordering an animal-friendly interior as simple as any other option. To that end, the company partnered with PETA (another shareholder) to create an all-vegan luxury experience.
"We are committed to giving customers the ability to build the Tesla that meets their needs and lifestyle choices," spokesperson Khobi Brooklyn told CNBC.
In a statement yesterday, PETA praised Tesla's willingness to work together on the issue. "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. In addition to synthetic leather seats — an option called "Ultra White" — Tesla will also offer an animal-friendly steering wheel and gear shift.
When will we start seeing more of these Model Xs hit the road? Besides the several hundred that have already been delivered since last September, Tesla has ramped up production to some 238 vehicles per week. You can take a look at creating your own version of the $80,000 SUV, vegan or otherwise, here.
For a first-hand review of the new Model X synthetic leather seats from a new owner, check out the video below.