• The New Tesla Model S’ Yoke-Like Half Steering Wheel Probably Isn’t Going To Happen

Admittedly, the yoke is a nice trick but do not hold your breath on seeing it in production

Last week’s biggest news came from yours truly Tesla, who announced that the Model S and X will be going under the scalpel for much-needed nip and tuck. The highlight of said nip and tuck was the yoke-style steering wheel which is certainly an enticing feature for Tesla die-hards and at the same time, something that might not see fruition.

The New Tesla Model S' Yoke-Like Half Steering Wheel Probably Isn't Going To Happen Interior
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Firstly, the interior pics displayed on Tesla’s website are nothing but renders at this point. We are yet to see a Model S or Model X that actually sports the yoke steering, and we are not counting on that to happen anytime soon. And for a good reason: the NHTSA did not get the chance to examine it and determine whether it can be safely used in a production car.

Speaking to Motor1, a spokesperson revealed that for the time being, the NHTSA “cannot determine if the steering wheel meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.” What is more, the NHTSA’s answer also mentioned that “we [the NHTSA] will be reaching out to the automaker for more information.”

The New Tesla Model S' Yoke-Like Half Steering Wheel Probably Isn't Going To Happen Interior
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Now, we can imagine that before handing in the final design of the steering wheel, Tesla’s designers did consider various federal requirements that have to be fulfilled.

However, given Tesla’s affixion for such stuns made to hype its products - see the flapping gullwing doors on the Model X, for example, which are disguised as an Easter egg - it could very well be that the NHTSA and any of its guidelines have been omitted in the design process.

Secondly, The Drive took a closer look at Tesla’s website code and it showed the Model S with a regular, round steering wheel. Which means Tesla has a backup plan in case the yoke will not work out. In fact, The Drive uncovered a hidden image of the regular-wheel interior inside Tesla’s configurator. However, you can’t make your choice from within the configurator – you need to fiddle with the values included in the image’s URL.

The New Tesla Model S' Yoke-Like Half Steering Wheel Probably Isn't Going To Happen Interior
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Furthermore, The Drive updated the article saying that after publication, Tesla pulled the more traditional steering wheel from its website. We cannot tell you why, but maybe the carmaker wants customers to see the new yoke steering wheel as part of its hype plan or maybe it is going into production after all. If that’s not odd enough, Elon Musk took to Twitter to say that the turn signal and transmission selector stalks are gone for good since the car will be able to guess the drive direction based on “surroundings and driver input.”

Obviously, we are taking it all with a pinch of salt for the time being.

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
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