It’s no yoke: Tesla brings back round steering wheels

What comes around, goes around.

Two years after launching its updated Model S and Model X with unusual yoke-shaped steering wheels, Tesla is once again selling the vehicles with traditional round wheels.

The Tesla website now offers buyers a choice between the two options at no additional cost.

The automaker is also selling a $700 conversion through Tesla Service for current owners who would like to swap the yoke for a regular wheel.

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The Tesla Model S and X are now available with either a wheel or a yoke.
(Tesla)

The yoke caused quite a stir when the cars debuted in early 2021 and received mixed reviews from critics and owners, although many of the latter said they’d gotten used to and ended up even preferring it to a wheel.

Tesla’s designers said that it provided a better view of the road and highlighted Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving capabilities, previewing a future where a wheel wouldn’t be needed at all.

 The image of the wheel originally appeared shortly after the debut of the new vehicles in 2021.

The image of the wheel originally appeared shortly after the debut of the new vehicles in 2021.
(Tesla)

That hasn’t happened yet, as Tesla’s Full Self-Driving hasn’t entirely lived up to its name and still requires driver supervision and input to operate.

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Tesla also didn’t re-engineer the steering ratio so that the yoke wouldn’t need to be turned past half-way, requiring drivers to take their hands off it and find something to grab as they complete 2.3 full rotations from left to right .

Toyota and Lexus have since made a yoke an option on their new electric SUVs, but do make this change through the use of a steer-by-wire system so that they only need to be turned 150 degrees.

Elon Musk said that the yoke would work better with a steer-by-wire system like Toyota uses with its example.

Elon Musk said that the yoke would work better with a steer-by-wire system like Toyota uses with its example.
(Reuters/Toyota)

Even Elon Musk admitted that “variable gain (steer by wire) yoke would be ideal,” but also that there was no chance a normal steering wheel would be offered.

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Tesla never made the yoke available on the Model 3 or Model Y, but versions of it have been featured on the Cybertruck and Roadster prototypes.

The option was inadvertently previewed shortly after the yoke’s reveal, however, when an image of the new Model S interior with a round steering wheel appeared briefly on Tesla’s website before being removed after its discovery by the media.

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