Vegan interiors move to the automotive mainstream
5:41

Vegan interiors move to the automotive mainstream

Cars
[MUSIC] Hey folks, it's Cooley. We got another one of your emails about high tech cars and modern driving. This one comes in from Charlie W. Minnetonka Minnesota says I read that the Porsche Taycan will come with a vegan interior. And Tesla seems to be going that way too What's the point? I hadn't planned on eating my car, that's a good thing. I'm very pleased to hear that. This whole idea of veganism and cars may seem like an odd fit cuz you typically think well, veganism is a diet, right? People who don't eat any animal products at all, but it actually is broader than that. As you probably know, it's people who don't wear or eat or use any sort of animal exploitation products, of any kind. And as a result, that can link to the car because it has one huge animal product in it, the leather interior. [MUSIC] Some folks don't want animal parts mixed with their car parts, so they seek vegan alternatives. And one of the best places to find those is no, not at Whole Foods, But at a Mercedes store. [MUSIC] Now Mercedes is arguably the king of synthetic leathers, and I know what you are thinking. That sounds like that crappy embossed vinyl on some cheap car you had back in the day That's not the case here. This story starts shortly after the war when Mercedes got back into car production. They offered something called Kunstleder, artificial leather. By 1952, that was called texleder and, now, it's called MB Tex and it's been this since 1956. This is not some fly by night new trend for them. You got a real nice texture, not some fake embossing. The materials thick. It's not thin and and stretchy feeling. You see this one's got perforations and really nice, honest pleading and stitching not fake embossed stitches. In every way this resembles leather feels like leather wears like iron. I know a lot of folks who got older Mercedes with MV texts Stuffs in great shape. I'm willing to bet a number of you have gotten Mercedes cars with interiors. That is actually MB Tex. Car tel agent says 55% of the Mercedes they least go out with an MB Tex interior. A whole slew of other cars are going this way as well. Tesla has been quietly dropping leather from just about any part of its cars, from auto 3 and the coming model of Y are already vegan only. The Poll Star 2 will come standard with vegan, leather style upholstery and recycled wood, although leather will still be an option. [MUSIC] By 2020, Range Rover Evoke, Velar, and the Jaguar I-PACE will all offer vegan interiors. And the entire Prius line comes with either Softex synthetic leather, or a synthetic fabric upholstery. Even the Avalon comes with that synthetic Softext. And that brings us to the car you mentioned, Charlie, the Porsche Taycan, which indeed has something Porsche calls RaceTex. That's their version of a vegan interior. And one of the first things they pointed out about it is that it creates 80% fewer CO2 emissions in its entire production and lifespan. And therein lies one of the keys to why car makers are going vegan on the inside. [MUSIC] They are under huge pressure, especially in the European Union to reduce the CO2 footprint of their products, and more broadly of their business. And not all of that footprint comes from a tail pipe. Globally, more CO2 is released by animal agriculture than by cars. Although that splits in the US because we have so many cars per capita. [MUSIC] Leather, according to the UN Industrial Development Organization, creates a long and rather nasty chain of CO2 and chemical emissions in processes. Averting all that with a cleaner alternative in terms of production as well as recycling, would seem to be an altruistic thing on the automaker's part were it not for another EU regulation. It gives carmakers credit, not only for reducing over the road CO2 emissions. But also gives carmakers credit for so called eco innovations that may reduce their overall CO2 footprint, but not necessarily in a way that can be measured in a road test. That's where the interiors come in. CO2 is kind of the big bang that got carmakers attention on vegan interiors. There are three lesser bangs, if you will. One of them is. These materials tend to weigh less. It may not sound like a big deal, but that's a huge piece of material all around the interior and carmakers will take every ounce they can get and I mean that literally. So a lighter material can actually make a difference in their vehicles efficiency, is also tend to cost less Because often they're made of recycled materials that have a lower cost base. And a shorter time to produce and assemble the raw recourses then animal agriculture and as I mentioned these are often from recycled materials and can easily become recycled materials. All of these are good guys for both auto makers and a certain class of consumers Most of those attributes also apply to Vegan cloth interiors, like the Volvo V60 textile options that recently won awards, Best Interiors honor and did so in a smashing plat. But know that with any Vegan interior, the adhesives and often the steering wheel cover can be non vegan. Driven a lot of cars with these leather alternative interiors and I've liked if not loved every one of them. I'm a big fan of this trend. And the more I look at vehicles and their technology, which I always do with you, it's kind of odd. The leather interior is the last really antique thing on a car today. If you look at that matrix of consumer interest and benefits for the car maker, you realize that this one's probably got legs. Keep those emails coming on here to answer your questions about high tech cars and modern driving. It's cooley@theroadshow.com.

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