Tesla’s yoke steering wheel is a revelation. The rectangular design has moved away from the Standard circle. But can you still opt for a normal steering wheel? Let’s look at what’s on offer.
Tesla has upgraded the steering wheel on the Model X and Model S to the ‘Yoke’ with the Model 3 and Model Y still offering the standard circle.
In this article, we’ll look at the different steering options and the benefits and challenges of the new ‘Yoke.’
Tesla Steering Wheels
When we talk about a ‘normal’ steering wheel, we’re talking about a standard circle steering wheel. The design that has been used since the invention of the motor car. So why did Mr. Musk feel he needed to reinvent the wheel? Since he has been head of Tesla, Musk hasn’t done anything by halves, and no one can dispute that he has rewritten the motoring rulebook, certainly for EVs.
And the same can be said for the new ‘Yoke’ steering wheel.
The Yoke is currently only being offered in the Model X and Model S, and currently (Nov 22), there are no plans to change the design in the Model 3 and Model Y, but that may well change in the future.
The only steering wheel offered in the Model X and Model S is the Yoke, and Musk has indicated that the standard circular wheel will not be part of the purchase option from now on.
There is the option of retrofitting your steering wheel with a circular wheel in an alternative auto shop, but the cost is a hefty price of $2300 plus. Unless you were finding the driving capability of the X or S Yoke a major challenge, I recommend you stick with the Yoke or buy a Model 3 or Y.
If you are in the market for a new Tesla, I would definitely recommend taking a lengthened test drive of all models, but especially if you are considering an X or S, as the Yoke can take some getting used to.
What’s Different about the Yoke?
The biggest difference about the Yoke is the shape. It is based on the modern racing car style. As you sit into the new Model S and Model X, the biggest thing that strikes you is the amount of extra visual space available. The screen is so unimpaired compared to that of a circular steering wheel, which obscures a lot of information,
The extra buttons on the wheel and lack of stalks are also something that will need a bit of getting used to. The Yoke is very tactile, however. There are small thumb nubs that, as you become accustomed to them, you’ll find you no longer need to glance to select any changes.
On the Left Side:
The left side has an upper and lower arrow for indicators and the standard scroll wheel. The high beam lights button is also controlled by the left side.
On the Right Side:
The right side is slightly more unusual, where they have moved the horn to a thumb position and away from the center. It will take some getting used to not hitting the middle of the wheel when someone suddenly pulls out in front of you. But with everything new, we will adjust to it. We have adjusted to the modern EV, after all!
The other buttons on the right-hand side are the voice command button, which, if activated, can control many changes, and the right scroll wheel.
The wipers are controlled from the right side of the yoke.
Are there Downsides to the Yoke?
As I say, everything new takes a bit of getting used to. Although the shape of the Yoke gives a much clearer view of the cluster, it is a rectangle, and most of the driving world has learned to drive with a circular wheel.
How does this make a difference? Well, the Yoke has no upper rim to grab, and as you spin the Yoke, your hands cross over each other as it’s impossible to feed the wheel through your hands like you were always taught to do. This can lead to both anxiety and frustration.
Your hands can get stuck in the openings, preventing the Yoke from turning fully.
The other thing to learn is the gear selection is no longer located on a stalk to the side of the wheel but is now located on the touchscreen. This can be less intuitive, especially when maneuvering a turning circle.
The ergonomic hand placement makes it ideal for Autopilot driving as your hand can be resting on the Yoke as opposed to fully holding the wheel. This makes the Autopilot driving experience more relaxed on the highway.
Model 3 and Model Y Steering Wheel
Mr. Musk is a great man for trialing. Because he’s not making millions of Teslas (Yet!), he can use the trial-and-error method.
In this social media era, it becomes clear very quickly what people are prepared to accept and what they won’t.
Although there has been some initial despondency about the Yoke – Why do we need to reinvent the wheel? If it’s not broken, why fix it?
Without engineers and innovators, we’d still be cranking the front of our cars. We all have to bite the bullet and accept change.
That’s not at all to say that every other car manufacturer is going to go the rectangular route. Musk has said that he won’t offer the circular wheel in the future and so I feel it’s probably inevitable that the Model 3 and Model Y will go the same route.
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