Bentley wants to make vegan leather with protein, mushrooms, and -- confusingly -- jellyfish.
Bentley is looking for ways to appeal to wealthy vegan customers who don't like the idea of buying a car with a ranch's worth of cattle skin plastered all over the cabin.
"You can't sell an animal-containing product like a Bentley, with 20 leather hides, to someone with a vegan lifestyle," explained Bentley's Director of Design Stefan Sielaff.
He didn't reveal what percentage of Bentley clients are vegan. Unsurprisingly, he pointed out many of the anti-leather prospective customers he's talked to over the past few months live in California.
Traditional alternatives to leather include cloth, velour, and vinyl, but none of those are up to the British marque's famously high standards. Instead, Bentley is working with "protein leather, mushroom leather, and jellyfish material."
Going vegan represents a conundrum for Bentley. The exquisite, soft-hide leather helps create the smell passengers get a whiff of as soon as they sit inside of a Bentley. The experience wouldn't be quite the same if the seats smelled like porcini risotto, but the company has presumably found a way around the issue.
Sielaff promised Bentley will show an experimental model with a vegan interior in the near future. Just like cows, the jellyfish is part of the kingdom Animalia, so we're looking forward to learning how it's used in a car built for vegans.
Bentley isn't the first automaker to experiment with vegan alternatives to leather. Pressured by PETA, one of its shareholders, Tesla began offering vegan leather as an option on the Model X and the Model S late last year.
Note: Bentley Mulsanne EWB pictured. Photo by Ronan Glon.