Not all buyers want to pretend to be airplane pilots.
The updated Tesla Model S Plaid was unveiled late last month with several cool new features, among them the Plaid+ option with a 520-mile range, a 0-60 mph time of less than two seconds, and a top speed in excess of 200 mph. It'll be almost as if you're flying an airplane without going airborne. Tesla may have taken that concept a bit too far with the introduction of the yoke steering wheel. Not everyone is a fan.
There's even been some debate regarding its safety. The NHTSA is still reportedly investigating the matter, though it's already been deemed safe by Dutch authorities.
Tesla was a bit unclear at the time of introduction whether customers can opt for a conventionally styled steering wheel, but now we can confirm the answer is 'yes.' A member of the Tesla Owners of Michigan Facebook group spotted a new Model S parked at a Tesla Service Center in snowy Toledo, Ohio with what's very clearly a conventional steering wheel. The exterior features the new front-end updates as well.
However, this Model S is clearly a prototype test vehicle because there are exposed wires and a "stop button" beneath the paper cup. Other touch buttons have also been labeled, further clarifying its prototype status.
A Tesla employee told the photographer the round steering wheel will be an option. But again, there's been no official confirmation so far. It'll be interesting to see the yoke steering wheel take rate, assuming it receives the green light from the feds.
We can imagine some customers will be put off by it because, well, it's kind of strange and not necessary. Some think it is cool and won't even consider a circular steering wheel for their new Model S. The updated Model X also has the yoke wheel option but it's still unknown whether the Model 3 and Model Y will also inherit it as part of a future update.