Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Seeks ‘Sustainability Cred’ With Fake Leather Interiors

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Model X

Tesla Motors Inc brands itself a green firm. The company is making petrol engines obsolete as it pushes electric vehicles to the mainstream. Tesla is pushing for greener energy storage with energy products like the Powerwall and its Gigafactory project is designed to be 100% carbon neutral. Few companies today have the green focus of Tesla or it’s CEO Elon Musk. Yet, in June 2015, a news report chided Tesla for not being totally green because it uses animal products in its cars. Tesla’s Model S and Model X cars are luxury class EVs and they have premium leather seats that are expected by most to luxury cars buyers.

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Autopilot

About the same time, two Tesla shareholders urged the firm to desist from using animal products in its cars. The shareholders even had two proposals for the firm – the first plan would have the firm reduce the use of animal products and end their use by 2019, the second plan will have Tesla become the first green premium car brand.

Tesla Motors yields to PETA

The New York Times reported that Tesla is now courting eco-conscious and animal loving buyers as it offers an completely eco-friendly option that beats the cloth-substitutes that it offered in the past. Tesla Motors has unveiled a synthetic leather option called Ultra White for eco-conscious buyers of its Model X SUV.

The latest move by Tesla Motors puts the firm in the rank of automakers who are trying to project a responsible corporate image. CNBC quotes Jack Nerad, executive editorial director at Kelley Blue Book saying “all the car companies want sustainability cred”

Tesla’s offering of a synthetic interior also speaks volume about the firm’s take on listening to customer feedback and making the necessary adjustments to satisfy them. In June 2015, when Tesla was in the crosshairs of PETA for its use of leather interior, the firm replied that provides the offers vegan interior in luxury brands with fabric seats “for the few customers wanting a non-leather steering wheel, we can provide one“.

Elon Musk however, noted that the firm would consider providing a faux leather interior – today’s news is proof that Musk stayed true to his promise, that he considered faux leather, and that he took action. A Tesla spokesperson says, “We find that customers enjoy both leather and non-leather options for their Teslas. We are committed to giving customers the ability to build the Tesla that meets their needs and lifestyle choices.”

Traditional automakers embrace EVs

In other news, Tesla Motors   might soon be contending with new rivals in the EV space as car companies become serious about bring hybrid and electric cars to the market. Traditional automakers in a race with time to meet federal fuel economy standards by 2017 and they are relying on hybrid and electric vehicles to help them meet the targets.

The tech space was abuzz last week when General Motors unveiled its Chevy Bolt as the perfect rival for Tesla’s upcoming mass market Model 3. GM is not the only carmaker that has a target on Tesla’s back this. Earlier this week, Fiat Chrysler unveiled a plug-in hybrid-electric version of its new minivan model, the Pacifica. Despite the entrance of traditional carmakers into the EV space, Tesla Motors still maintains its lead in the market because it is the only pure EV marker – the other firms are making EVs and hybrids because they want to meet zero-emission rules.

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Victor Alagbe is a seasoned business and finance writer with a specialty in writing about how to invest for the long-term in healthcare, pharmacology, energy and tech stocks. His long-term focus is on stocks that provide a nice mix of growth and income. For the short term, he passionately writes about trading stock options for the excitement and leverage that stock options offer.


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