Subaru’s new 2020 Outback model features a water-repellent vegan seating option that’s even stronger than leather.
The vegan-friendly seating is available as an option for the Onyx Edition XT gray, Automotive New reports. Named StarTex, it’s free from animal materials as well as polyvinyl chloride, phthalate, and chlorine. The backing is made from 25 percent recycled polyethylene terephthalate, aka PET.
The Tokyo-based auto company’s Outback has a following among the outdoorsy. Subaru is well-aware of its customer base and markets the 2020 Outback as its “most adventurous Outback yet.” Its all-wheel drive makes it easy for drivers to take it off-road, it has a spacious trunk, it can easily carry camping supplies on its roof, and its new seating option is durable, waterproof, and vegan.
According to the brand, StarTex won’t absorb moisture, keeping in mind customers who might get caught in the rain. It’s also easy to scrub clean of dirt and debris.
The Vegan Future of Cars
Leather still remains a cornerstone seating material in the car industry. But in recent years — due to a shift in consumer demand — more car manufacturers have launched vehicles that feature vegan seating.
Volkswagen announced the ID. Roomzz earlier this year, an all-electric SUV with seats made by AppleSkin, which makes vegan leather from apple juice waste. Audi’s e-tron GT features an all-vegan material made of recycled fabrics and floor mats made out of reclaimed fishing nets. The company also hopes to make 30 percent of its production electric by 2030.
“A changing world needs beauty and intelligence in order to propel itself forward,” Audi of America’s former President Mark Del Rosso told the Times. “This is part of our evolution.”
Nissan, Volvo, and Skoda have also announced electric cars with vegan interiors.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced earlier this year that its Model Y and Model 3 will be fully vegan in 2020. The electric car company once made use of leather seats, which were replaced with the vegan-friendly “Tesla Synthetic Material” in 2016. The steering wheels, however, were not vegan due to concern for the durability of synthetic materials and how they would handle in cars with heated steering wheels. Musk added that he’s “confident” that the models will be fully vegan by next year.
The 2020 Subaru Outback launches this fall.