Tesla Steering Yoke: NHTSA Won’t Say Yes Or No To Legality

Remember the odd-looking cut-down Model S steering wheels Tesla leaked a few weeks ago? The ones that sort of looked like those used in airplanes? Yeah, well now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a statement about them. It won’t say yes or no to the legality of the Tesla yoke wheel.

Here’s what the NHTSA has to say so far about the yoke:

Here’s what the NHTSA has to say so far; “NHTSA is aware of the recently launched Tesla steering yoke in certain Model S vehicles. We requested and received information from Tesla about the steering yoke and we remain actively engaged with the company during our review. NHTSA routinely engages with auto manufacturers and suppliers to better understand the new technologies and features they develop and introduce to the U.S. fleet.”

Tesla Yoke steering wheel
Tesla Yoke steering wheel | Tesla

Obviously, this was prompted by the buzz around Tesla’s use of this new steering wheel. The statement doesn’t tell us anything really, but at least we know they’re looking at it. We guess if the NHTSA wasn’t looking at it then there would be no concern as to whether it is legal or not. 

Review of Tesla’s yoke wheel has been ongoing since February

Their review of the yoke wheel has been ongoing since February according to Teslarati. At that time the agency said it couldn’t “determine if the steering wheel meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. We will be reaching out to the automaker for more information.” Since then, Tesla has been in contact with the NHTSA to help determine whether the Yoke steering wheel is an issue or not.

Tesla Yoke steering wheel
Tesla Yoke steering wheel | Tesla

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards or FMVSS is the Bible for what is legal to manufacture in the US. All of the car companies can determine internally if a component it is working on fits FMVSS guidelines. It can “use any means necessary to determine this.” Whatever that means.

If a component is deemed in violation of FMVSS standards it can stop production

If a component is deemed in violation of the FMVSS standards it can stop production of all vehicles not in compliance. Obviously, Tesla does not want to have production shut down while the agency is reviewing a component that comes into question. So it is going to them now before production starts ramping up.

Tesla Yoke steering wheel
Tesla Yoke steering wheel | Tesla

RELATED: The 2021 Tesla Model S U-Shaped Steering Wheel Could Be a Deal-Breaker

The yoke popped up when Tesla revealed the updated Model S at the end of January. The most talked-about thing following the reveal was the yoke steering. Meant to be used in both Model S and Model Y Teslas as an option, it wouldn’t seem to cause an issue with noncompliance or safety. But now the feds feel a need to either give it their blessing or ask that Tesla pull it from production.

Tesla’s yoke wheel has already been approved for use in the UK and Netherlands. So there have been reviews around its compliance by other countries. Do you see any reason why Tesla shouldn’t be allowed to produce its yoke steering wheel? Let us know.