Look out, Tesla. Some versions of the upcoming Porsche Taycan electric car are going vegan, too—perhaps before Tesla can get there.
Well, for now let’s call it vegan-ish.
In a first release of information about the production Taycan interior. Porsche yesterday said that it will offer both an option of tanned Club Leather, using a natural olive-leaf process (OLEA) and a vegan option—a fully leather-free interior with Race-Tex microfiber partly made of recycled polyester fibers.
For the latter, Porsche says that it produces 80 percent less CO2 that for traditional materials.
And for the floor of the Taycan, Porsche is using the Econyl recycled fiber made of recycled fishing nets.
Porsche Taycan dashboard
But don’t call the whole car vegan quite yet. Generally speaking assuring that a product is vegan (free of animal products) requires a more thorough audit of all of its ingredients. Most tires aren’t vegan as they contain stearic acid, which is a by-product from cows; some adhesives and hydraulic fluids can also use animal by-products.
Most of Tesla’s seat-upholstery choices have been vegan for years, and while the automaker said it would provide all-vegan choices in 2016—a promise the automaker hasn’t quite delivered, because of a leather-trimmed steering wheel.
At Tesla’s 2019 shareholder meeting in June, the animal rights organization PETA—which has long linked EVs to the carbon-conscious vegan movement—asked about that continued use of leather, pointing out that animal agriculture (including the leather industry) creates more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the world’s transportation combined.
Tesla Model Y
CEO Elon Musk explained that the company hasn’t yet delivered that because it’s had trouble finding a durable non-leather steering wheel that wears well (with a heating element). The Model Y will skip leather completely and go synthetic soon, he asserted, while there will be special-order opportunities for Model S and X.
Much of it depends on the assurances automakers can get from their suppliers. As Tesla helped create a supplier ecosystem for electric-car batteries some years ago, by proving there was market demand, now perhaps Volkswagen Group’s pull with suppliers will help Tesla go vegan, too.