Tesla has re-introduced the round steering wheel for its design refresh Model S and Model X vehicles. The new Tesla Model S was launched in 2021 with a yoke steering wheel and a re-designed interior. At the time, the yoke was the default and only option for a steering wheel when anyone bought a new Tesla Model S or Model S Plaid. On multiple occasions, Tesla CEO Elon Musk iterated the usefulness and practicality of the yoke and that the automaker did not intend to bring back the round steering wheel.
“After using yoke for few weeks, I didn’t want wheel,” Musk once tweeted. He was also of the view that a round steering wheel blocks the view of the instrument cluster. It is important to note that unlike Tesla Model Y and Model 3, the Autopilot/FSD Beta driving visualizations are displayed on the smaller instrument cluster of the Model S and X instead of the center touchscreen.
Elon where there practical reasons for the yoke or does it just look cool?
— 🐶 Earl of FrunkPuppy 🐶 (@28delayslater) September 9, 2021
From the Tesla Model S online car configurator page:
The ultimate focus on driving: no stalks, no shifting. With a stalkless steering yoke, you can enjoy both the best car to drive, and the best car to be driven in.
Now, after almost 2 years, Tesla has finally realized that the company might actually be losing Model S and Model X sales just because of the yoke steering. Introducing a traditional round steering wheel will make it easy for potential customers to make a purchase decision, especially the older generation who have driven with these steering wheels for decades. [Editor’s note: I’m not sure if consumer demand was the issue here that led to Tesla bringing back the round steering wheel as an option — though, that’s certainly possible. Many owners have shown their yokes falling apart on the corners after not very long at all. I wonder if the reason for bringing back the normal steering wheel isn’t more about that. However, if Tesla really is still offering the yoke, that idea doesn’t make full sense — you’d think they’d remove the yoke option completely.]
While configuring a Tesla Model S, Model S Plaid, or Model X in the Tesla online car configurator, the round steering now comes as the default included steering, while the yoke is optional. The customer is able to choose either of these steering wheels without any additional costs (see screenshot below).
Some Tesla owners of the design refresh Model S/Model S Plaid even went to the length of retrofitting the Tesla Model 3/Y round steering wheel in their cars. But now Tesla is providing the Model S/X OEM steering wheel right out of the factory.
Popular tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) bought a Tesla Model S Plaid in 2021. Although in his review he said that he got used to the yoke, he suggested that Tesla should include a traditional steering wheel as an option as well. That has finally happened.
At this time, Tesla has not given an official statement about whether existing Tesla Model S Plaid and Model X owners will get a round steering retrofit option or not. Of course, this hardware change would not be free of cost.
Let us know what you think of Tesla’s introduction of a round steering wheel for the Tesla Model S Plaid and other variants of the S and X in the comments section below.
Originally published on Tesla Oracle.
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Source: Clean Technica