Tesla Unveils 'Ultra White' Leather Option For Vegans (PHOTO)

Jan 15, 2016 04:15 PM EST | John Nassivera

Tesla Motors is winning over the hearts of vegans with its "Ultra White" interior option for its new Model X SUV.

The option is aimed at attracting customers that don't use animal products in their cars, as the leather in the seats and steering wheels of most luxury cars require the slaughter of animals, according to The New York Times. The synthetic leather is currently only available for the Model X.

Tesla apparently received numerous complaints from vegans about the automaker being environmentally friendly while including animal products in its cars. Among them was Leilani Munter, a professional racecar driver and environmental advocate who said that she couldn't buy the faster, sportier version of the Model S without real leather seats. The electric automaker responded to these complaints with black cloth seats available for all models and trim packages, along with synthetic-leather-clad steering wheels, which customers can get with special requests.

"We find that customers enjoy both leather and nonleather options for their Teslas," company spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn said in an email about Ultra While. "We are committed to giving customers the ability to build the Tesla that meets their needs and lifestyle choices."

Vegans previously had to settle for basic models with cloth seats and plastic steering wheels if they wanted to avoid using animal products, but they would be forced to take leather options if they wanted better engines, heated seats and new speakers, NBC News reported.

Ultra White provides the luxury feel with synthetic leather seats, steering wheel and gear shift.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which is a shareholder of Tesla, praised the automaker for introducing the new option, having asked the company last year about the possibility of using synthetic leather, The Verge noted. The animal rights group said that it has "been working with Tesla" on the project ever since.

"By offering a 100 percent leather-free car, Tesla is pushing its eco-friendly business even further into the future," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement. "PETA can now point to Tesla as a source for top-quality vehicles whose cruelty-free seats are as kind to the environment as its engines are."

The Model X will have a base price of $80,000 when Tesla begins delivering the electric SUV at the end of 2016.

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