It’s not something that many of us consider, however for vegans hiring a car isn’t as simple as finding the best deal and picking which rental car suits our needs. Veganism is booming with more and more people from all walks of life opting for a life that does not eat or use animal based products. Many celebrities have declared themselves vegan, such as British
5 time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, Hollywood
star Brad Pitt and Los Angeles
based Popstar Beyonce to name just a few. But how does driving, or renting a car affect a vegan? Can you really drive a 100% vegan friendly car?
Well the answer is yes (almost). Audi have released details of what it says is the first vegan certified car, the e-Tron GT. Now it’s not likely that you’ll see an Audi e-Tron GT on the average car rental fleet list for some time, the 590bhp GT will be a flagship model and likely cost in excess of £100,000 which certainly won’t be on the shortlist of those looking for the cheaper car hire for their holiday. However, for those celebrity vegans out there, it could be just what they are looking.
So what makes the e-Tron a vegan car? Whilst vegans generally have strong environmental views so would likely favour a low emission rental car, or even an EV rental car, veganism, whilst carrying many health benefits, it primarily focussed around cruelty to animals, whether that be eating meat, dairy products or indeed wearing leather garments made from animal skin. The e-Tron GT boasts a vegan interior using synthetic leathers used throughout to maintain the premium feel without using leather. Whilst Audi are keen to promote the vegan interior, Tesla, the all electric car maker have actually been offering a vegan interior as standard from 2017 (seats) and you can specify a non-leather steering wheel on request. The not so good news is that you can't currently rent a Tesla with Rhino, however as we develop our fleet of EV rental cars, it's likely be a popular choice with the Model 3 competing in the mid-size premium market and the Model X taking on the premium SUV's.
This is where most cars fall down as whilst cars are generally made of metals and plastics, it’s not unusual for car interiors to be festooned with animal-based products, leather being the primary material. From full or half leather seats, to leather steering wheels, gear knobs and gaitors to door cards and stitched leather dashboards, premium models view leather as a luxury material for car interiors. Delve deeper into car construction and you'll find that many glues used in the manufacture of cars also contain animal-based products, something you’d likely not give a second thought to.
Vegan Friendly Car Hire
When it comes to a vegan friendly car rental, the best way to avoid leather interiors is to avoid premium models as this is where you are most likely to find leather interiors. Not only will you avoid leather seats, you’ll also make a great saving by opting for a budget rental car. But even modest rental cars are likely to have leather-clad steering wheels or even gear knobs so you’ve not out of the woods yet. Things to consider if renting a car as a vegan;
- Leather Seats - many premium models are likely to have full or half leather seats
- Interiors - Even more modest models will boast leather controls such as steering wheels and gear knobs for their superior tactility
- Premium - Makes such as BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar often feature leather interiors as standard so are best avoided
As the Audi e-Tron GT is likely out of reach for most of us, for those looking for a non-certified, but vegan friendly rental car, we’d recommend you opt for a base spec rental car. If in doubt or you need any assistance in selecting the most vegan friendly rental car, our experienced customer service team are on hand to help, although whilst we can advise, as we operate a ‘car hire or similar
’ policy, we can’t guarantee the make and model of car you’ll receive or the exact specification, but we can advise on the most likely model offered in any given rental class at your location of choice. Finally, if when you collect your rental car you’re not happy and find it had a leather interior, or just leather steering wheel, you can ask the rental agent if they can swap the car for another model if available. Whether it’s car rental or any other part of travel plans, more advice on going on holiday as a vegan here