Are Tesla’s vegan car seats all they’re cracked up to be?
There are many anecdotal reports online about Tesla owners complaining that their car seats and headrests are prone to damage such as bubbling. This has been blamed variously on the use of lotions, cleaning solutions or even hair products. While One 4 Leather cannot comment specifically on the Tesla cases, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that so-called ‘synthetic leathers’ required by manufacturers who promote vegan car interiors do not perform as well as genuine leather for cars.
Natural properties of leather
A report by FILK (the Research Institute for Leather and Synthetic Materials) demonstrated that no single ‘leather alternative’ matches all of automotive leather’s characteristics. Particularly in terms of water vapour permeability and absorption, leather outperforms them all.
Sustainable leather is naturally resilient
The report also demonstrates that leather is also superior to its competitors in terms of how long it lasts. In tests of durability such a flex and tear resistance it outperforms them all. To highlight the durability and flexibility of leather, we put together a cool little animation. As it shows, thanks to its natural fibres, leather has excellent tensile strength and is more resistant to tearing than synthetics.
In addition, unlike leather, the synthetic substitute is unlikely to be repairable if something goes wrong – like tearing or bubbling. The only choice is to throw it away. Most vegan alternatives to leather use plastics in some form or other – particularly as backings – so these materials will not biodegrade like leather and are likely to contribute to the problem of waste plastic that is plaguing the world and oceans today.
Leather is best for your car interior
Whether you have a Tesla or any other car brand with non-leather upholstery, once your synthetic covers have reached the end of their (un)natural lives, we heartily recommend retrofitting with natural car interior leather for a more sustainable, comfortable and durable car seat.