30 May 2023
A series of Tesla owners have been reporting issues with the cars’ “vegan leather” seats, auto evolution has found, writes ILM.
Over the years, Tesla has steadily moved away from leather, instead offering a synthetic alternative it calls a “vegan leather”, recently updated to be scratch, stain and water-resistant.
However, the automotive news outlet found multiple owners of Tesla vehicles reporting issues with the seat materials online. In one case, an owner found that the upholstery was fading away on the bottom part of the backrest, seemingly melting or disintegrating and leaving stains on clothing.
Another Tesla owner said on Reddit that their Model 3, with 85,000 miles on the clock, said that the upholstery looked as though it had been burned with a lighter.
Auto evolution warned drivers of these potential issues, saying: “It’s worth noting that faux leather is made by using a base material, which is then treated with coating and laminations that, in the end, lead to a leather-like appearance. They claim that Vegan leather (which is wholly synthetic) can be produced in a wider range of colours and finishes compared to traditional leather, providing more design versatility.
Despite the poor performance of the Tesla’s seating materials the publication still advised its readers of the following; “Sadly, some synthetic leather may still require petroleum-based products and chemicals, which can have a negative environmental impact. Overall, however, it’s generally accepted that it’s better to go on the vegan leather route than to pick vehicles with seats covered in treated cow skin.”
In 2022, ILM reported that a group of Norwegian Tesla owners went on a hunger strike, protesting a myriad of issues including similar issues with the upholstery.