Would You Buy an Electric Car With Leather Seats?

riding a cowI have many different sites in my RSS feed. I noticed an article today on USAToday.com's website. The title of the article is "Will vegans drive Nissan Leafs with leather seats?"

Apparently, Nissan is offering leather seats as an option on their  electric car, the Nissan Leaf. So the article is asking if vegans will buy a car that has vegan seats as an option. So that means that you can choose to have non-leather (presumably cloth) seats on your Leaf. You don't have to have leather seats in your car.

I think the resounding answer would be yes. I would still buy an electric car, but I would opt for the cloth seats over the leather seats. Just because the car manufacturer is offering leather seats as an option, doesn't mean that you need to disregard their vehicle as an option. They (and all other car manufacturers) offer leather seats on all of their other models. I don't think it would make sense to protest Nissan under the guise that they are presumably tainting the "greenness" of the Leaf by offering leather seats.

This just feels like the media looking to drum up controversy where there really isn't any.  Am I wrong here? Do you think that the mere fact that Nissan is offering leather seats as an option on their electric car would stop you from purchasing said car?

This reminds me of an article I wrote a long time ago. The article was titled Vegangelicism — You’re Not Good Enough For My Vegan Club. Basically, vegans need to acknowledge that the world has a lot of cruelty in it and that you can't change the world all at once. 8 million people aren't going to stop eating meat all together just because you suggest that they not do that. But if you can bring some awareness to them about the cruelties, you might get them to ease back some. Let's say that you convinced people not to eat meat one day each week, every week of the year. That would be a 14.3% decrease in the consumption of meat. Logically, that probably means that, eventually, 14.3% fewer cows, chickens, and pigs would need to be slaughtered.

So just because the car manufacturer is offering leather seats on a car that would otherwise help out the environment, the newspaper is trying to create controversy as to whether this would stop people who are vegans from buying the car. Maybe I'm wrong here. Maybe a lot of people would not buy this product. Maybe there are people who would not buy Silk soy milk because Silk's parent company Dean Foods sells dairy products. (Personally, I think you should make your own soymilk, but I digress....) Maybe they wouldn't buy non-leather shoes from a shoe manufacturer who also makes leather shoes. I know there are people who are vegan who will not eat in restaurants where they serve meat.

OK, so am I wrong here? Will vegans drive Nissan Leafs with leather seats? Leave a comment below indicating if Nissan's decision to offer elather seats on their electric car would hinder you, or in any way adversely impact you, from buying such this car.

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Comments

  1. “This just feels like the media looking to drum up controversy where there really isn’t any. Am I wrong here?”

    You are NOT wrong, that’s all it is really. Creating drama about ‘crazy vegans’- although it does sound like something PETA would protest.(hope they won’t!) But what it means to me personally? Well like you, I would buy an electric car with no-leather option, of course! And if I was going to buy any car, and my economy allowed it I would like to have an electric car. But the leather option just means that Nissan doesn’t care about the cows, and their green message isn’t as green as they claim. What’s new? I’m sure all vegans know this already, so many companies do this kind of thing… Still, we can make the best choice available in a non-vegan world, as usual.

  2. I’m vegan and I drive a Ford Escape hybrid that I purchased about 3 years ago. The dealership was having a special and the ones they had in the showroom all had leather seats. I asked for cloth seats and they proceeded to explain how the “leather seats are better, plus that’s an option that we’re giving you for free today only!!” No thank you, I told them. I’ll go to abother dealership for a hybrid with cloth seats. They were very curious as to why I was willing to do that, and I explained about the cruelty in meat and all animal products (in barbecue country, Tennesssee), and it’s very obvious that I’m not from here. They then offered to drive to their “sister dealership” 120 miles away and pick up a hybrid with cloth seats for me. So they got to keep my business and I got the car I wanted that day itself, and I paid the lower rate; it’s not fair to have to pay more for cloth seats but I was prepared to do it! So yes, I absolutely would buy a Nissan Leaf with cloth seats, even if they offer leather as an option. If we don’t demand certain things, like vegan food in a non-veg restaurant, and if we choose to isolate ourselves and not go to regular places like restaurants, then we don’t have the right to complain about the lack of vegan options, and we’re doing a huge disservice to would-be vegans who feel that they want to be able to eat out with their friends and family but have a vegan meal. We can’t attract people to our way of living if it’s so closed off and cult-like.

  3. Yes, I agree. This is certainly the kind of mania that PETA might do.

  4. Thanks so much for the great comment. I completely agree with your statement: “…If we don’t demand certain things, like vegan food in a non-veg restaurant, and if we choose to isolate ourselves and not go to regular places like restaurants, then we don’t have the right to complain about the lack of vegan options, and we’re doing a huge disservice to would-be vegans who feel that they want to be able to eat out with their friends and family but have a vegan meal. We can’t attract people to our way of living if it’s so closed off and cult-like…”

  5. Yes, I am currently saving for an electric car…and NO, I won’t be getting leather seats :) It would be so nice if manufacturers could use some sort of faux leather but I’ll take cloth over leather. Great article, thank you for bringing this subject up.
    When I started my Vegan journey…I just focused on my dietary needs and didn’t really consider how this would impact the rest of my lifestyle. I can now say, 2 1/2 years later, I am a satisfied Vegan who doesn’t buy leather. I am more passionate about my choices, and have found cruelty and animal free beauty products. I am more educated and can, therefore, make better choices. As with anything in life, I needed to grow and evolve and I will always be doing that.
    I am grateful for my awareness and for websites such as yours – thank you!

  6. Thanks for your comments Julie. My wife and I have gone down a similar path. We started out as vegans for health reasons, but after peeling back the onion, you start to see the atrocities and it makes it hard to buy an animal products. That said, the use of animal products is so pervasive, it would be hard to find companies that aren’t willing to use animal products. If enough people vote with the wallets (in this case, if more and more people wanted cloth or faux instead of real leather), you would eventually see a change in what’s offered.

    Thanks for the nice words about our website, too ;-)

  7. Dine with @kathynajimy + @GloriaSteinem at @candle79 – the best vegan spot in town! Give to @equalitynow + feel good http://bit.ly/Ip8NDB

  8. Hello fellow vegans and conscious consumers ! =)

    Nevermind leather seats !,

    ELECTRIC CARS ARE NOT GOOD FOR HEALTH OR ENVIORNMENT OR ECONOMY

    So, my quick comment, I wouldnt buy an electric car LOL

    as for the leather, Id rather buy a used car with leather seats than an electric car without.

    I could go into the reasons, but Im sure thee are a few other thinkers out there;
    Ill leave it to them and discussion.

    10 year vegan (except when my 100% Italian Nana make eggplant parmesan =)

    PEACE

  9. Hello fellow vegans and conscious consumers ! =)

    Nevermind leather seats !,

    ELECTRIC CARS ARE NOT GOOD FOR HEALTH OR ENVIORNMENT OR ECONOMY

    So, my quick comment, I wouldnt buy an electric car LOL

    as for the leather, Id rather buy a used car with leather seats than an electric car without.

    I could go into the reasons, but Im sure there are a few other thinkers out there;
    Ill leave it to them and discussion.

    10 year vegan (except when my 100% Italian Nana make eggplant parmesan =)
    OH, and canola oil is NOT a food, its a nasty man made cash crop or simply poison.
    Earth ‘balance’ is NASTY and the vice president admitted he knows its bad “but it sells”.
    ORGANIC is CRUCIAL for ALL living things, even life without eyes =)

    PEACE

  10. Hi Adam

    Please share your thoughts as to why electric cars are not good for health or environment or economy…

    Mmmmm… Nana’s eggplant parm sounds yummy! I had some vegan eggplant parm at Whole Foods for lunch yesterday. OK, so it’s been a long time since I’ve had the real thing, but it was reminiscent of real eggplant parm… well at least that’s what my brain’s telling me…

  11. The new Prius C comes in a luxury option featuring not leather, but genuine leatherette seats! Guess somebody in their R & D department understands what vegan-friendly means. Thank you, Toyota!

    Find Eat to Evolve on Facebook – join the r/evolution!

  12. vegannibal says:

    http://onemansblog.com/2007/03/27/prius-outdoes-hummer-in-environmental-damage/

    This would be what Adam was referring to, I think.

  13. Jamie Pehling says:

    Per my local Nissan dealer, the Nissan Leaf comes with a leather covered steering wheel in all trim levels. No options, you just get a leather covered steering wheel, period.

    Obviously this will be disappointing to vegans and goes beyond the question of leather v. nonleather seats. For the steering wheel, there is no vegan choice! Per the dealer, the limitation is connected to the need to cover the heated steering wheel with nonsynthetic material. I don’t understand why a heated steering wheel is important in any case.

    The upshot is I’ll be waiting for a vegan option.

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