We do know that a few people are not into animal leather. In today’s world, more and more people are learning to stay away from leather or anything that would cost an animal’s life, and veganism is not just limited to what we consume.
So as an automotive company, how do you cope with this change? We know that they usually just offer fabric or leather to finish off the seats and the cabin of their cars. But guess what? Bentley is way ahead of its competitors and according to Stefan Sielaff, Director of Design, the company has already been exploring several vegan-friendly options for upholsteries and trims. This is part of their plan to produce more eco-friendly vehicles in the near future, and by that I don’t just mean hybrid or electric vehicles, though that is still part of the plan.
During the Financial Times Future of the Car Summit, Sielaff said that “you can’t sell an animal containing product like a Bentley, with 20 leather hides, to someone with a vegan lifestyle” - and clearly, this is where their idea rooted from. These customers ask the company for leather alternatives that they can offer, so if they want to make a sale, then they will have to keep up with changing trends. Even if this means they have to begin from research and development - just to keep customers satisfied, especially if your company offers custom-made solutions to customers.
So far, Bentley has not given details on when the new vegan-friendly interior will be available. What we know is that research is ongoing and that the design team is currently playing with different material, sans animals. But they did mention that they will soon showcase a Bentley with a vegan interior, that still provides a luxurious sensation, in a different way. One that is made with protein leather, mushroom leather, and jellyfish material. Yes, future car interiors will be made with mushrooms and jellyfish - that’s if you opt for one.
It isn’t just Bentley that is looking into eco-friendly design for cars. Apparently, Ford has been considering a hybrid of bamboo and plastic for interior surfaces since it is actually sturdier than wood, brick, and concrete. Bamboo is a great alternative as it grows to full maturity in only two to five years, and the fact that it is natural is a plus. It will also cost less for automotive companies.
Last year, Morrissey, former front man of The Smiths and animal rights activist wrote a letter to General Motors CEO Marry Bara, asking them to offer vegan interior materials for the Chevy Bolt and Volt. He noted that “entirely vegan options” would give out a stronger appeal, since these cars were being marketed to eco-conscious buyers.