Updated May 6, 2019. Land Rover is giving some of its luxury Range Rover cars a vegan-friendly upgrade.
Land Rover unveiled its new line of leather-free and vegan materials — designed for its 2020 Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Velar, as well as its Jaguar I-Pace — at the New York International Auto Show in April.
The new interior materials are made from vegan-friendly eucalyptus fiber-based Eucalyptus Melange and a leather-free wool blend called Suedecloth by textile company Kvadrat. The latter also uses recycled plastic bottles.
Massimo Frascella, the vegan creative director of Land Rover, told the Economic Times, “fifty years ago a leather couch was the height of luxury. Now in the best hotels and homes you’d never see that.”
He added, “it’s a similar process with cars. Going forward, sustainable design is providing the framework for change.”
Winning World Car Design of the Year
Last year, the Range Rover Velar — a luxury SUV that has the option for a leather-free interior — was declared the winner of the 2018 World Car Design of the Year, for its focus on innovation and sustainability.
According to Business Insider, “The World Car Design of the Year category, and the corresponding award, are meant to highlight new vehicles with innovation and style that push established boundaries.” The winner was decided by a panel consisting of seven “highly respected world design experts.”
“The Range Rover Velar is an outstanding, superior SUV,” Professor Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO, said. “Compelling modernity, eye-catching design, innovative Touch Pro Duo infotainment technology and a clear focus on sustainability – what a combination. This product speaks for itself.”
When asked about the decision to offer a leather-free interior two years ago, Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern told Drive, “The attitude towards animal by-products is changing.”
He continued, “That whole world of luxury is becoming more sophisticated and people are looking for ways to reconcile the way we use the world to create these products, things like fabrics that are more sustainable and have a better sustainable footprint.”
McGovern concluded his thoughts, stating that “Personally, I’d be quite happy to move away from leather tomorrow. I don’t like that we have to slaughter all those cows to create leather.”
Using a Wool Blend
Although Land Rover has taken a positive step for the environment with its new materials — and Eucalyptus Melange is vegan — the leather-free interior by Kvadrat cannot be considered vegan, as it includes a wool blend.
While many are aware of the cruelties of the leather and fur industries, fewer realize that wool is not kind to animals — an estimated one million sheep die each year as a result of cold exposure from being sheared too early.
Other perils faced by sheep in the wool industry include mulesing, a painful process where the farmer cuts skin from the animal’s back and tail without the use of anesthetic, in order to prevent flies from laying eggs in the skin folds. In addition to that, sheep who no longer produce as much wool are no longer considered profitable by farmers and are typically sold for slaughter.