Tesla's Yoke Steering Wheel Looks Like A Terrible Mistake

Electric Vehicles / 35 Comments

Vin Diesel would NOT be impressed.

While that nervous learner driver trundling along at 20 mph tends to grip onto the steering wheel firmly with both hands, badass action movie stars like Vin Diesel know that the only way to look cool while driving is to have one hand on the shift lever and the other high up on the steering wheel at the 12 o'clock position. This isn't possible in some new Teslas like the Model S with their yoke steering wheel designs which are rectangular in shape and lack a top rounded section like, well, every other steering wheel in any other street-legal production car. It turns out that the yoke wheel is as awkward in practice as we imagined.

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2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Central Control Panel
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Central Console

On Twitter, a user posted two videos of himself driving a new Tesla equipped with the controversial yoke-style wheel. The second of the two videos include commentary from the driver. As expected, the most awkward moments come when the driver needs to execute a U-turn or go around a traffic circle. Over two full rotations are required in some maneuvers and this seems particularly awkward in this Model S.

Not only can't you grip the top of the steering wheel on the inside of the rim - as is often the case with a regular wheel - but your arms end up bumping into each other more than would typically be the case.


Also, you can't simply let the wheel easily slide back into your hands as it returns to the straight-ahead position. The driver did say that things become easier with time and that once you let go of habits formed from using a regular round wheel, matters improve. Still, the yoke design just seems like more of a chore, especially in congested city streets. Coupled with Tesla's reliance on steering-mounted buttons instead of stalks for the indicators, it's a reminder of when BMW revealed the E65 7 Series, a car that made everyday controls as needlessly complex as possible. Based on these videos, Tesla's yoke wheel hasn't done anything to win us over.

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