Interior Choices - non-leather/vegan

Interior Choices - non-leather/vegan

i find it more than a little disappointing that a co as advance as Tesla is so seriously limiting the the "non-animal based" interior choices for customers. i put down my deposit on a Model S a couple of months ago with the serious hope that by the time i can take delivery, Tesla will allow more cloth / similar synthetic interior options. and the fact that as a Southern Californian, I'm "forced" to accept a black/dark interior as the only non-animal choice, is rather amazing. the last "color" that makes sense for someone like me is black... how about grey, tan or what i really want is burgundy red cloth/synthetic leather with a Sliver exterior!

as much of a fan i am of Tesla, and am certainly rooting for the co on many fronts, if i can buy a BMW i series with a more "forward thinking" non-animal based interior, i will do so... assuming of course that Tesla does not make some changes here.

i hope others like me will make voice their concerns as well.

mrspaghetti | 24 November 2012


No company can afford to make an infinite number of options available. Those they do make available need to satisfy the largest share of customers. I assume you're aware that you're part of a vanishingly small minority who view it as a negative that their car upholstery is made from animal skin.

I'm not commenting one way or another about your views regarding animals, just pointing out that it doesn't seem to make a lot of business sense for Tesla to spend any resources doing what you are suggesting. If you peruse these forums you'll find lots of things being requested/demanded which make more sense to attend to first, from a purely business perspective.

ahimberg | 24 November 2012

this has come up a bunch of times, no changes or response from Telsa ever on it. I've mentioned it to sales people who only say if enough people demand it, Tesla will do it, but I don't think they took note of my request anywhere. The Signatures and Performance models require leather as well, so they lost those upgrades from me.

It is interesting that in Canada the textile interior includes heated seats, we can't even get that as an upgrade to pay for in the US!

Also - note that Fisker has some premium interior upgrades that are animal-free.

Maybe some of Tesla's upcoming 'options packages' will include a premium non-leather interior upgrade. I've already locked in my configuration but really would have liked as many options as they had on the Roadster

Joyrider | 24 November 2012

I too would like a cloth interior and black is my least favorite color. With cloth seats you don't need seat heaters (or coolers)and in an electric car where accessory power use can make a real range difference, I think cloth is a smart choice. It would be nice to have at least one light color to consider.

petero | 24 November 2012

brett. I can appreciate your disappointment, however, TM has kept the choices in interior and exterior to minimum to simplify and expedite production. Perhaps in a couple of years they will offer a wider choice. Keep in mind they launched a new car, new factory, new production line, new work force… that’s quite a lot. You could have an auto upholster shop recover your seats in whatever color(s) you prefer. You might remember Henry Ford. When he launched the Model T he offered his customers a choice of any color they want…as long as it is black!

Comparing a 1 Series (from a long established, premier, manufacturer) to an “S” could be considered an insult by some forum readers.

P.S. Personally I would have preferred Saddle colored leather

mrspaghetti | 24 November 2012


Also - note that Fisker has some premium interior upgrades that are animal-free.

Not sure if Fisker is the business model Tesla wants to emulate. As a stockholder, it's certainly not what I want.

As has been pointed out in other threads, it's not reasonable to compare BMW or other established automakers to Tesla. BMW et al. can afford to make many more options available for very small segments of the market due to the sheer volume of production and number of models they sell. Tesla is a start up with exactly one model for sale at the moment. If it survives to adulthood it may very well cater to your wishes, but right now it's still learning to walk and dress itself. And this in an industry that is decidedly newbie-unfriendly.

lph | 24 November 2012

I too would really like to have a decent color choice in non leather. One of the reasons i am waiting on buying is because of this.
in another thread i started, i mentioned that you can have really high end interior that is non leather.
I personally find leather objectionable on many fronts relating to comfort.
Leather is slippery, sticky in hot weather, cold and clammy in cold weather, smells bad and looks awful after a few months. I know because as a child we had a bentley with (the "best") leather available.
It also makes sense to cater for a growing (and wealthy) sector of the public that are vegans, or just want the choice.

mrspaghetti | 24 November 2012


It also makes sense to cater for a growing (and wealthy) sector of the public that are vegans, or just want the choice.

Possibly growing, but still not exactly large. [1 million US adults, according to - a source that probably overestimates the numbers if anything.]

Not sure what data you're basing the "wealthy" claim on.

Timo | 24 November 2012

Vegan diet is unnatural to humans and as such quite stupid. Human biology is hunter-gatherers biology, we need meat just as much as we need fruits and nuts.

That said, I also would like to see more non-leather options (especially heated seats) even that I'm quite a carnivore in my eating habits. You don't need to be vegan to like fabrics more than leather.

jkirkebo | 25 November 2012

I am also not a fan of leather, but the textile seats currently offered is even less desirable to me. Why ? Because they are not textile, they are a blend of textile and faux leather :( And I like faux leather even less.

So what I would want is a 100% textile seat option, non-black (black interiors make me feel cramped and depressed). I am for example very happy with the grey seats in my Leaf. And make it an option for the performance model please. Maybe use the same type of alcantara that is used for the headliner ?

lph | 25 November 2012

My position too.

Sudre_ | 25 November 2012

I would have probably gone with a non-leather choice with this car if it had heated heats. I have leather in the car I own now and even tho it has held up fine I prefer the cooler cloth seats in the summer (not black).

I still don't expect Tesla to offer a wide variety this early on. They had to delay grey leather deliveries. This car was put together very quickly compared to any other company so they are not going to have a huge amount of choices.

If it was something that you really believe in differ. I think more options will be coming online in the next six months.

Volker.Berlin | 25 November 2012

You are not alone. Here is a pretty extensive thread on the issue:

Volker.Berlin | 25 November 2012

jkirkebo, is has been said that European options will differ from North American options, so there is a shimmer of hope that we might get a somewhat broader range of textile interior options. Keep your fingers crossed, it's only a matter of weeks (maybe days) now until we will learn what Tesla has for us!

Volker.Berlin | 25 November 2012

as much of a fan i am of Tesla, and am certainly rooting for the co on many fronts, if i can buy a BMW i series with a more "forward thinking" non-animal based interior, i will do so... (brett.hawkinsjr)

The question how Tesla compares to the BMW i series or any electric efforts by established car makers for that matter has been pondered in this thread (just in case you're interested):

Brian H | 26 November 2012

"glimmer" of hope. Shimmer is never used metaphorically like that. Too distracting a "picture"? ;)

Volker.Berlin | 26 November 2012

Brian H, thanks. I had no shimmer of the difference. (That's how the word is used in German. BTW, in German "a spark of hope" is actually more common than "a shimmer".)

Brian H | 26 November 2012

Glimmer is also used like "inkling" or even "hint".
He had a glimmer of what was about to happen.
He knew there was only a glimmer of success to justify all his effort.

Brian H | 26 November 2012

Do you also avoid wool? After all, after being shaved, sheep are often peeled and eaten. ;)

DouglasR | 26 November 2012

I can see Brian has never been on a farm . . .

You must be thinking of peaches.

mrspaghetti | 26 November 2012

Or maybe DouglasR has never had lamb chops :)

DouglasR | 26 November 2012


Nope. Used to raise 'em. Sometimes ate the ones I fed from a bottle. It's just that you don't typically eat the ones you shear; they are ewes, and you keep them because they lamb. You shear them to keep them comfortable and for the wool (we used to have a guy come out and shear them in exchange for the wool). Lambs are typically born in the spring, after the ewes have been shorn, and taken to slaughter before they are a year old, so they don't often get "shaved," as Brian says. More than you ever wanted to know about sheep, I'll wager.

mrspaghetti | 26 November 2012


Thanks for the education. Until your post, everything I knew about sheep was from watching the movie "Babe". (And occasionally eating lamb chops.)

Brian H | 26 November 2012

I knew almost all of that. I was just trying to liken sheep to plant life.

I even know there are special breeds with hair weakened next to the skin that can have the coat just pulled off, no cutting necessary! They were unable to develop a self-roasting variant, however. (;(

mrspaghetti | 26 November 2012


So there are no documented cases of "spontaneous sheep combustion"?

Captain_Zap | 26 November 2012

Sheep are shorn, right?

Glimmer is like a glint or flash.

Personally, I don't object to using dead animals for upholstery as much as I object to using live ones.

I went with leather because it was easy to keep clean, good looking and it looked great for decades in some of my cars. But, I'm sure that your own climate can impact that significantly.

I do have some concern about the Alcantara though. I noticed that there is some on the seating area of my car. I am concerned about how to protect it from soiling and wear. Anyone have any wisdom on the mighty Alcantaras?

pylt | 12 March 2013

Posted in another thread, but the screen went blank so I'll try again here as I am so frustrated with Tesla's lack of concern for their ethical customers!

I find it quite amazing that so many of the otherwise intelligent readers on this forum would be so ill-informed regarding the ethical, moral, and environmental implications of eating animals and, by extension, leather interiors.

I am a few days away from cancelling my Model S reservation, mostly due to Tesla's punishment for those of us wishing to take the "moral high road."

Here's the text of an email I sent in reply to Tesla advising me that one cannot have memory seats, etc., if one doesn't have the brains of several cows blown out:

Sadly, as a vegan I cannot accept being penalized by Tesla Motors (again) for choosing a reduced-cruelty interior. By way of background, I have purchased five (yes, that's "5") BMW 3 Series over the past 13 years because they were available WITHOUT a leather interior, among other reasons. BMW, for the most part, does not penalize customers for choosing the leatherETTE (their standard, non-leather interior) by limiting the buyer's other options. Tesla Motors, however, seems to insist on it.

Given the fact that you at Tesla are forging a new, fresh path, I find it amazing and depressing that Tesla chooses to "punish" customers that take the higher moral road.

May I please ask a favor of you? Please forward this email widely within Tesla.

Let me be frank--as a TSLA stock holder and an environmentalist, I want you to succeed. Tesla Motors is doing incredibly important work. In my case, given my family proclivity toward buying BMW's 3 Series, I'd love to retry with the Tesla Motors "Gen III" in a few years, hopefully to replace both of our 2011 BMW 335i's. BUT: I'd like the same seat memory (and interior trim choices, performance options, etc.) that those ignorant (or just plain cruel?) buyers do. (Just in case you aren't aware, Model S buyers that select the leather interior cause five or six cows to be murdered so that they can sit on their toxically treated skins. For details on how leather is "produced" I encourage you to visit Leather isn't a "by product"--it's a source of additional profit for those that murder sentient beings for money. For heaven's sake, you're in California--you should "get it." But I guess someone missed the memo on "How not to be cruel" and now you've lost a sale.)

You can do better; let's hope you can influence Tesla's decision makers to make this happen for the Gen III.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like additional information, but in the interim I'd like a refund of my $5k deposit sometime after March 8th. (That's my supposed deadline for locking in my Model S order at 2012 prices; there's a 1% chance I might change my mind and just go with the limited options forced by taking the moral high ground.)

Thank you.


Mark Peters

p.s. I haven't even touched on the massive global warming impact that cows produce, but surely your executives know this as well?

Brian H | 12 March 2013

Nature would be SO much nicer if there were no carnivores. And nice is what Nature is trying to be, right?

ddruz | 12 March 2013

@Mark Peters, I agree with your main points. I would love it if the Model S textile seats came with all the bells and whistles the leather ones do. If not standard, the option could be available at a reasonable cost.

While not a vegan I am a vegetarian and avid environmentalist and would much prefer a non-leather interior all else being equal. Unfortunately all else is not equal in Model S.

I originally configured with textile but later switched after much consternation because I felt the lumbar support (not available last year), seat memory, kangaroo pouch and option for non-glossy trim were very important features. I am still a bit uneasy about my decision to tell the truth.

Hopefully Tesla will provide in the future non-leather interiors with all bells and whistles that accompany their leather interiors on all their cars.

Brian H | 12 March 2013

Ask for leather exclusively from vinyl cows.

shs | 12 March 2013

As I posted in the other thread on this, if you are willing, or have to, pay the new pricing, the new textile seats have memory, are heated, have lumbar support, etc. It is only the original textile seats with the old pricing that are missing features.

ddruz | 12 March 2013

@shs - "with memory" was removed from the textile seats on the Options and Pricing page a little while ago while the wording was retained for leather. It does not appear memory is available with textile even with the 2013 price increase though the seats are now heated and have 12-way adjustment. (Duplicate post from other similar thread.)

TenThirtyOnePro | 31 March 2013

Brett makes a good point. I am happy there is a non-animal option to begin with but do feel that a company that is interested in decreasing a carbon footprint should be offering exclusively vegan interior. There is no need for real leather. Also, the people on this thread talking about the dwindling numbers of people interested in vegan options needs to hit a news site or learn to read. Veganism is the second largest trend of 2013 and the number of vegans has more than doubled since 2009. It's GROWING EXPONENTIALLY. And as far as the dusty "hunter and gatherer" remark which is potentially the most cliche excuse for meat eating that exists: Humans were gatherers exclusively until cold weather prevented vegetation from growing. Homosapians had to start hunting animals out of necessity to survive during those cold seasons. When the necessity ended, homosapians kept eating animals because they had learned how. That's why humans eat animals...not out of some ancient myth of "born to be hunters and gatherers." That's what uninformed individuals say to excuse their guilty conscious of inflicting pain and suffering on other living beings simply because they want a snack or dead carcass to put their ass on in the seat of a car. None of it is necessary...and all of it hurts animals, the environment, and humans.

shs | 31 March 2013

I agree that Tesla should understand and even promote the “green” aspects of the textile interior and respect those that choose to go that way. What has disappointed me is that with my original textile seats, I have lost ALL aspects of the Driver Profile function including Auto-Tilt mirrors and all the other preferences that are stored in the Driver Profile function. I have been assured that all functionality is restored with the new textile seats, including seat memory, but I am out of luck with my original textile seats. Still a wonderful and amazing car, but the loss of features for those with the original textile seats seems arbitrary at best.

Brian H | 31 March 2013

A lion eats once a day. A gazelle eats all day. Choose your lifestyle.

kashiraja | 1 April 2013

I would be surprised if TM doesn't provide those options in the near future. I'm vegetarian, though I got leather seats, I don't think I will be buying another car for the next 12+ years so I hopefully won't accrue too much karma by going with leather seats this time.

Tesla-David | 2 April 2013

I am engaged in a conversation with Tesla regarding my textile seats regarding retrofitting heat seaters. So far I am not getting any positive feedback, but I intend to keep up the pressure until I get some action. I think it is outrageous that early adopters in US were not given the option to get textile seats with seat heaters, which are now included in all MS delivered in US. I am willing to pay for the addition, but so far they just say it is not possible. Unacceptable response. I will keep you posted on their response to my query.

PorfirioR | 2 April 2013

Good luck buying just about anything these days without animal products.

RedShift | 2 April 2013

Lions don't eat 'once a day', once a day is what the Cheetah needs to do. ( but does not, on a regular basis)

Lions can go hungry for a week or more, especially when prey is scarce.

Polar bears can go a month or more between eating when prey is scarce.

BTW, I find this ' humans are carnivorous' bit amusing. We are omnivorous, and have a choice, unlike say, the lions. We are lucky, our system has evolved this way, it increases our chances of survival. Of course, eating meat (I eat meat, BTW) puts more strain on the planet than eating plants. I like to stick to chicken mostly, and eat meat less than 30% of the time, and then mostly organic meat.

Humans did not get to eat meat this frequently when they were 'hunter-gatherers', nor was our population this large.

Eating meat has consequences for the planet, whether you like to admit it or not. So, choose your lifestyle.

DonPedro | 2 April 2013

I'd like to have non-animal options beyond the barebones package, too.

lph | 2 April 2013

Only once a few days....It looks to me that lions dont like their food. Dont blame them because its disgusting walking around with a graveyard in their stomachs. Feel sorry for them. I like to eat (most of the day would be great!) so I am in the gazelle camp ! Just look at them jump for joy !-)

citroNord | 2 April 2013

Please, for goodness' sake, stop arguing and ask TM to make the most sensible choice for the planet, the animal kingdom and the human race:

MINERAL fabric!

Pink fibeglass is green (humm... matter of speaking :)), nice looking, colorful, cheap, very strong, mildew resistant, easy to clean, recyclable...

...and we wouldn't need heated seat! LOL

OK, I'm gone...

shs | 2 April 2013


As I was finalizing my configuration, I talked to customer support about my options as I didn’t want to spend $2500 for the new textile seats as my reservation date qualified me for the original pricing, and after all I could get the Napa Leather option with memory, etc, for $1500. I offered to pay any reasonable premium to get the new textile seats short of $2500 and losing my place in the delivery queue. I was given two pieces of advice, first get the leather seats, and that I was being a bit silly insisting on textile. The second piece of advice was to proceed with the original seats and then negotiate with service for an upgrade to the seats.

I finalized the order with the original textile seats and after receiving the car (which is wonderful) I wrote an email about my concern that ALL aspects of the Driver Profile function had been disabled. I was particularly disappointed that the Auto-Tilt mirror function was not working. I said in that email that I hoped a future software release could restore some of the missing features.

A few days later I received a phone call from Customer Service. They indicated that unfortunately a future software release would not be able to restore the Driver Profile function, and that with the original textile interior, a critical electronic control module, or CPU, was eliminated in the build. “We have to save money somewhere”. I suggested that I would be happy to pay to have that module installed in our car. He replied that unfortunately the wiring harness for our car did not include the necessary wiring for that control module. "Wow", was my response, "I can’t believe that the factory would want to handle two similar wiring harnesses, one for leather and one for textile, and that I doubted there would be sufficient cost saving in wires and connectors to make handling two part numbers worthwhile", but I accepted his statement that our wiring harness was missing some critical wires and connectors, as short sighted as that might be.

After that conversation, I am really worried, as in my previous life I have managed a software department as well as worked as a product manager. I realize the pressure to not support older and perhaps unusual hardware configurations with future software releases. Clearly the number of people with the original textile interiors is limited and not growing. I now fear the day when I go to install a new software release and get the message, “This software in not available for your hardware configuration.”

This is a very uncomfortable situation for me as I am a big Tesla supporter and hesitate to complain publically. Nevertheless, I don’t feel that Tesla has made good decisions on the features that are supported with the textile interior, especially if future software releases do not support my configuration. I certainly hope that is not the case, but I have not received any reply to my last email on the subject.

CarlE_P439 | 2 April 2013

I went with textile/microfiber seats. I have not felt like I needed a seat warmer despite some pretty cold days this past winter(particularly when travelling to Maine). The Tesla App is awesome with the pre-heating option each morning! It's one thing to complain about not having vegan/vegetarian options (which we don't since the steering wheel is wrapped in leather) but it's quite another to whine about a seat heater that you don't really need. Those are separate issues (the former of which I completely respect- "ahimsa").

CarlE_P439 | 2 April 2013

I agree that not having any option but black textile seats is not so great if you live in sunny California. But I would think that using the Tesla app and venting and cooling prior to driving will make it more bearable.

lph | 2 April 2013

All I want is for the textile seats to be a better color and to be available for ALL car configurations. That is not something that would impact production. A blue-grey with some tan (they look better than you may think - had a Nissan with it) or something like it that, would work with almost any other color.
I have already had a car that was all black inside and it was awful and depressing. Will not buy another car like that.
Really Tesla you have a obligation to honor Nikola Tesla who you named the company after, who was vegetarian and would had insisted on better performance in this area.

This is a quote from Nikola himself:

"A thousand other evils might be mentioned, but all put together, in their bearing upon the problem under discussion, they could not equal a single one, the want of food, brought on by poverty, destitution, and famine. Millions of individuals die yearly for want of food, thus keeping down the mass. Even in our enlightened communities, and not withstanding the many charitable efforts, this is still, in all probability, the chief evil. I do not mean here absolute want of food, but want of healthful nutriment. How to provide good and plentiful food is, therefore, a most important question of the day. On the general principles the raising of cattle as a means of providing food is objectionable, because, in the sense interpreted above, it must undoubtedly tend to the addition of mass of a "smaller velocity." It is certainly preferable to raise vegetables, and I think, therefore, that vegetarianism is a commendable departure from the established barbarious habit. That we can subsist on plant food and perform our work even to advantage is not a theory, but a well-demonstrated fact. Many races living almost exclusively on vegetables are of superior physique and strength. There is no doubt that some plant food, such as oatmeal, is more economical than meat, and superior to it in regard to both mechanical and mental performance. Such food, moreover, taxes our digestive organs decidedly less, and, in making us more contented and sociable, produces an amount of good difficult to estimate. In view of these facts every effort should be made to stop the wanton and cruel slaughter of animals, which must be destructive to our morals."
by Nikola Tesla, Century Illustrated Magazine, June 1900

TikiMan | 2 April 2013

No offence to the Tesla vegan community here (I don't care to debate this) however, I dare you to find a vehicle on this planet without any animal byproducts (most vehicle glues, lubricants, plastics, etc all contain byproducts made from livestock).

If it's just the illusion you want to maintain (i.e. no visible leather, etc), I am sure you can pick up a used Fisker: Karma for cheap now days.

shs | 2 April 2013


You are certainly right that it is hard to avoid animal products, and while I try not to purchase leather today, I did realize that the steering wheel was covered in leather, and accepted that as there was not choice. Nor have not thrown away the leather belt for my jeans that I have had for 30 years. What would be the point. One does the best one can, just like with fossil fuels. We have solar panels that generate most of the energy we need to heat and run the house, and charge the car. Averaged over a whole year, I could perhaps say i that with the MS, I am fossil fuel free, but I am not fooling myself there either as during the winter, I am no doubt heating the home with electricity generated with fossil fuels. Again do all I can to cut down. No debate, just the way I choose to do live my life.

Captain_Zap | 2 April 2013

We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that commonly used fibers, plastics and coatings are not petroleum based either.

TikiMan | 2 April 2013


The same here, except for me, I am firm believer in disrupting the 'rotten-to-the-core monopolies' that have a strangle-hold on our society. Right now, Tesla might not be able to please everyone with an agenda for change, however, they are doing far more than most, and that is good enough for me.

Tesla-David | 2 April 2013

Thanks for your summary of your experience with Tesla Customer Service regarding your textile seats. I share your concern that they were short sighted on providing equivalent options for those people who wanted something other than leather in terms of features including the driver profile function, lumbar support, and yes the heat seaters. Looks like they are not inclined to give those of us who got our cars earlier with the textile seats an option to get those features restored. I plan on writing management to let them know how disastisfied I am with their response to me on this issue. Hearing about your communication from Customer Service regarding the absence of a critical electronic control module from the textile seats, that includes a wiring harness that does not have the necessary wiring for that control module unsettled me, as I had not heard that from any of my discussions with Tesla. It makes me feel that I will not be able to get my car restored to the condition I expected relative to seat functionality. I intend to keep looking for a solution that improves the functionality of my seats. I love my car, but after spending $90k I expected things like this to be taken care of in the delivered vehicle.