When I talk to people that are not vegan, they always ask me questions related to food. But there is more to veganism than just following the diet without animal products.
When it comes to cars, things tend to get complicated because many parts are not vegan nor cruelty-free. That is why you may need to adapt your vehicle to accommodate your vegan lifestyle to some degree.
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Veganism is about doing your best to cause no harm to all living beings. Today it is impossible to be 100% vegan, but we can avoid animal suffering to some extent. When we buy a car, we can choose not to go for leather, but we can’t choose some of the other key materials in the car.
As the veganism popularity grows, many car manufacturers are increasingly developing vehicles that have vegan parts. There is obviously a demand for this, or manufacturers wouldn’t be doing it.
What is a vegan friendly car?
Vegan friendly cars are those that don’t use any animal-based products in their manufacture or operation. This means that the car doesn’t use leather for its seats, or wool for its carpets. Even the adhesive used to hold things together shouldn’t contain animal products.
What are vegan car seats made of?
There are a few different options for vegan car seats. Many companies now offer faux leather seats that are made from synthetic materials. There are also seats available that are made from recycled materials, such as recycled plastic bottles.
You should pay attention when it comes to other materials than leather. Some companies offer wool seat covers. These can be a good option if you’re looking for something that is natural and breathable. However, it is not vegan. Wool comes from animals, so it is a no-no.
How do you take care of vegan leather car seats?
Vegan leather car seats can be cared for in pretty much the same way as regular leather seats. You’ll want to clean them regularly with a damp cloth and vacuum them to remove any dirt or crumbs. You can also use a leather conditioner on vegan leather seats to keep them looking new.
In addition to vegan leather seats, there are also a few other vegan leather car products used in some cars. These include things like:
- Vegan steering wheel covers
- Vegan dashboard covers
Taking care of these components is the same as taking care of your vegan leather seats. Leather is leather, no matter if it is in a seat or a steering wheel.
Are car interiors vegan?
As I already mentioned, some manufacturers use wool for their car seats and other use animal leather, so the answer is no, car interiors are not vegan by default.
Some cars also use wood for their dashboards and other interior features. If the wood is unfinished, then it is probably vegan. However, if the wood has been stained or varnished, then it might not be vegan as these finishes often contain animal products.
Cheaper cars usually use synthetic interior parts so they might be more vegan friendly than those with animal leather seats.
Are car tires vegan?
The problem with vegan tires is the stearic acid often used in the production of the treads. This can be obtained by saponification from vegetable and animal oils and fats in the form of glyceryl stearate.
The vast majority of car tires are not vegan because tire manufacturers use stearic acid from animal sources. Tire manufacturers that produce vegan tires (no animal products included) are Michelin and Dunlop who uses stearic acid based on palm oil.
Are car air fresheners vegan?
Some are, some are not. Some air fresheners contain animal-based products such as musk, which is derived from deer. Other air fresheners might use essential oils that were extracted from plants.
When buying an air freshener, look for the ones that have a vegan label.
Are there any vegan car companies?
Yes, there are companies that make vegan cars. Top three with most vegan models are Ford, Honda, and Nissan.
Ford is the clear winner when it comes to vegan cars. It offers 28 trim levels with fully vegan interiors. In second place is Honda with 20 trim levels and in third place is Nissan with 19 variants. The latter also benefits from not offering a standard leather steering wheel on entry-level versions of popular models such as the Juke and Qashqai.
Other notable choices are Smart with 17 equipment packages, Hyundai with 15 and Kia with 14, followed by Mercedes-Benz with 13, which may be a little low for a manufacturer that offers sustainable versions in faux leather and suede. Similarly, BMW has only 5 vegan packages, although it places considerable emphasis on its electric line-up and its associated sustainability stance.
Is it possible to buy a 100% vegan car?
No, there is no 100% vegan car on the market yet. However, there are vegan friendly options that many car manufacturers offer. But in November 2022, Fisker should start producing their vegan car which has 100% eco-friendly interior.
I was very excited when I heard about Fisker’s new Ocean model – a fully vegan car. The electric car will have no animal leather, and the plastics would be made from recycled plastics from the oceans, hence its name – Fisker Ocean.
It will have solar panels on the roof to recharge the battery and a range of about 300 miles.
The car was designed by Henrik Fisker, a Dane living in California who has been involved in the production of models such as the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9 and V8 Vantage and has been trying to break into the electric car market with his own company for 15 years.
While no production Fisker cars have rolled off the assembly line, its prototypes have impressed insiders and apparently investors.
Can’t wait for this one to be honest!
How to make your car cruelty-free?
There are still people who just cannot afford to purchase a brand-new car. Or maybe you already own a vehicle that isn’t very vegan-friendly, but you want to try to make it fit your vegan lifestyle better.
There are always certain steps you can take to make your vehicle more vegan-friendly. Here’s how to make your car cruelty-free.
Swap out the cover for the steering wheel
Swapping the steering wheel cover for vegan leather or any other synthetic material is rather easy. There are many professional workshops that can do that for you, and you will not even notice any difference from the original steering wheel.
There are even DIY kits you can order online and try making a new cover yourself. This is a viable option for those with some handcraft skills, of course. For everyone else, there are car workshops.
Equip the seats with vegan seat covers
Now seat coverings are a bit more demanding in case your car has leather seats.
It can be done, but it is something that should be done by a professional because it involves a lot of work and skill to be done perfectly.
Opt in for vegan car tires
Because almost all tires contain stearic acid, which are manufactured using stearates generated from animal products, they cannot be considered vegan.
So far, I was able to find just two of the well-known tire companies that don’t use animal products in their tire production and those two are Michelin and Dunlop.
When cleaning, always use products that are cruelty-free and vegan.
This is the easiest part. It is always simpler to manage what things you use to clean your car than it is to control what materials were used for its parts.
Look for car cleaning solutions that are cruelty-free and vegan.
Veganism popularity is still growing, and its influence is also being felt in the automotive industry. Manufacturers are taking various measures to attract vegan customers, while at the same time reorienting their activities in this way towards a more sustainable industry in the long term.
While we still don’t have a 100% vegan car, this will change in the future and until then the best we can do is to pick a car which has at least some components that are vegan, and there are quite some to pick from this list.