Overnight, Tesla quietly adjusted some of the standard features and options of the Model S and X. Leather seat options have been replaced by vegan Premium Seats. Extended nappa leather has been eliminated. This is a big deal on several fronts.
1. It shows that Tesla listens to its owners and shareholders. At the 2015 shareholder meeting, there were two Pro-Vegan proposals that were voted down but Elon Musk at least agreed to explore the possibility. The board members probably all watched Cowspiracy and Leilani Munter probably lobbied Elon and the board as well, but the voice of the owners and shareholders was critical.
2. It shows Tesla’s ability to innovate and manufacture quickly. Tesla was able to create the vegan white seats in house within 6 months, and the vegan black and vegan cream seats within 2 years. While there were some durability issues at the beginning, it seems Tesla is now ready for mass production of these seats which are regarded as the softest and most comfortable seats ever offered.
3. It shows Tesla is committed to fighting climate change in domains beyond transportation and energy. When Tesla is producing millions of cars per year, their choice to only offer vegan interiors will make a significant impact on carbon emissions especially as EV competitors are likely to follow suit.
4. It shows Tesla is ready to expand to the modern mass market where the prospective buyers are tech savvy, environmentally conscious, and social media aware. A Tesla Model 3 is cool. But a Tesla Model 3 with a premium interior NOT made up of the skins of slaughtered calves is even cooler. This becomes a part of the Tesla story and the Tesla movement.