Tesla, Tesla, Tesla. Isn’t there a saying about trying to reinvent the wheel? Far be it from Elon Musk or the Tesla crew to use past knowledge to inform and stop them from wasting time and money on pointless gimmicks like a steering yoke. The newly updated Tesla Model S and Model X now feature a steering yoke instead of a steering wheel, and owners kind of hate it.
The Tesla steering yoke is a flop
As noted by CarScoops, replacing the Tesla steering wheel with a race car/spaceship-esq steering yoke is one of the strangest choices the Tesla crew made with the Tesla Model X and Model S redesign. Although we have come to expect Tesla to do fun, wacky, and sometimes pointless things with its cars, the messing with the shape of the steering wheel seems like a standout example.
The Tesla steering yoke is cool but so are dinosaurs…
Just because something is cool doesn’t mean it should be used in cars. The Tesla steering yoke is very cool. There is absolutely no doubt there. However, this doesn’t make it good for – ya know – steering a car.
F1 drivers use a similarly shaped steering wheel. This is a mere result of necessity, not because F1 engineers like Sci-fi. F1 cars use this shape because it gives drivers enough room in the tight cockpit and a better handle to make more precise movements when hitting insane G force.
It all works because F1 drivers don’t have to do nearly as many varied maneuvers as the average driver does. Three-point turns, parallel parking, and more require the average driver to use much more surface area of the steering wheel than the yoke offers.
Round steering wheels have been the agreed-upon best steering method for over 100 years. It turns out that steering wheels have been around for all this time because it’s the best way to control the average car. Even flat-bottom steering wheels tried to make the steering wheel cooler and have never taken over the old round standby.
Just watching someone drive with the yoke is annoying
Tesla owners have begun to post videos to YouTube and Social Media platforms to show the realities of driving these updated Tesla models. The driver in this video regularly reaches for the top or bottom of the “wheel” and finds himself having nowhere to put his hand.
Suddenly, a simple driving maneuver like making a 90 degrees left-hand turn is something the driver has to think about. Although the thinking doesn’t really interfere with driving, it presents questions about more stressful driving situations. WIll that extra second be too much in the wrong situation?
CarScoops mentions that a Tesla Model S owner pointed out that the yoke has 2.25 turns from lock to lock, which is around 800 degrees. This is far from the maximum of 300-400 degrees in modern F1 cars and closer to the 900 degrees of a typical automobile.
Water (Tesla) gonna find its level
For the record, Elon Musk and Tesla do a lot of really interesting and sometimes even cool things. They are pushing the automotive industry in many really positive ways. However, Tesla tried to reinvent the wheel, which turned out to be a silly and unnecessary “improvement” that is irritating to some Tesla owners.