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No fully leather-free (vegan) option being planned for the Model 3

There has been a lot of discussion of the materials used inside the Model 3, and whether there are vegan-friendly options. When it was announced last summer that Tesla was switching to a non-leather synthetic material for all its seating/interior, media coverage widely touted this as a win for those seeking cruelty-free alternatives. The one possible exception was the leather-wrapped steering wheel, but articles mention that alternatives have been made available upon request.

I recently received an invite to configure my Model 3, and didn't see any mention of the steering wheel material in the process, so I contacted support. Unfortunately, based on the response, it does not seem to be possible (or even planned) to have a fully leather-free Model 3:

> Please be advised that the steering wheels in all Model 3’s at this time are wrapped with leather.

> Please be advised that the interior is made with a premium engineered material, with the exception of the steering wheel. As it stands now, we haven’t been made aware of plans to change the steering wheel material.

I wanted to post this as to advise anyone who might be assuming that the "non-leather interior" includes the steering wheel. My hope is that an alternative will be made available soon, otherwise I'll be canceling my reservation.
 

03DSG

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,173
2,556
Ontario
Conflicting information, following thread Post #1:

Model 3's Non-Leather Steering Wheel

After learning that Model S and X have leather steering wheels as standard, I was concerned about what the Model 3 would have. Though some folks have requested vegan steering wheels for their cars, it was hard for me to imagine the same for the Model 3.

I sent an email to Tesla sales to ask for more information. The steering wheel on the Model 3 does not have leather. Yay! But the entire car may not be vegan, however. Boo.

Here's the response:

Tesla Sales said:

My name is Chanel and I’m an Inside Sales Advisor here at Tesla. Thank you for your interest in our vehicles and products. Model 3’s are leather-free because unlike Model S/X, Model 3 does not have a leather steering wheel. Please be aware that our interiors are not 100% vegan due to various adhesives that may not be actually vegan; however, It is free of any animal hides. I hope this information helps!
 
Just following up with further confirmation from Matthew (an Inside Sales Advisor) that there is no vegan option for the Model 3:

>Thank you for your email! My apologies for the delayed response. The steering wheel in the Model 3 is made of leather, just as is it in our Model S and Model X vehicles. There is no option to request a different material on the steering wheel.
 
Thanks for the comments, all!

@doubleohwhat, great to hear, I've been looking into alternatives, and the Bolt is definitely on the list.

@dwolvin: Can you clarify how you were able to determine that the steering wheel material isn't animal leather? When I looked at the display model in the store, the material (and the way it has stitching, etc) did make it seem like it was actual leather.

@jeremyz: Interesting, it seems the right hand's not talking to the left (because I've consistently heard the opposite from Inside Sales and the rep in the store). Where did you receive this response from?

Another recent article seeming to say the steering wheel isn't synthetic:

> Plus, it’s just the upholstery that’s made of the fake stuff, so vegans will still have to dirty their hands with a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Alternatives to Leather Upholstery
 
It is pathetic that Tesla cannot give a consistent answer to a rather basic question. I would prefer a leather free car, but not being a vegan it is not essential. Does any maker sell a fully vegan car, including adhesives etc?
I doubt anyone makes a fully vegan car. They get parts from suppliers all over the world. I recently learned that many tires are not vegan (stearic acid).
 

mongo

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2017
15,469
54,713
Michigan
I doubt anyone makes a fully vegan car. They get parts from suppliers all over the world. I recently learned that many tires are not vegan (stearic acid).

Given that petroleum based products (gasoline, oil, plastics) are derived from crude oil which is the partially reduced remains of marine organism such as fish, it is all dependent on how recent of a death you consider vegan...
Fossil fuel
 

jaguar36

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
2,159
1,974
NJ
I've had cars with leather steering wheels all my life, but if I had the choice, I would opt for some alcantara-like material that is often found in race cars. So much more grip, plus a very pleasant touch-and-feel.
An alcantara material wouldn't last for a life of a car. I've had it on shift-knobs before and it wears out pretty quickly.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: AustinPowers
Given that petroleum based products (gasoline, oil, plastics) are derived from crude oil which is the partially reduced remains of marine organism such as fish, it is all dependent on how recent of a death you consider vegan...
Fossil fuel
I'm not a vegan but I'm pretty sure that is wrong. Buying non-vegan tires results in the killing of animals today, that's the difference.
 

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