The yoke steering wheel on the Tesla Model S and Model X is one of the strangest design choices the company has made. Lexus even used the concept in its RZ EV. For the uninitiated, the yoke replaces the standard circular steering wheel with a yoke that resembles one found in an aircraft. “A bold new approach gives you a true connection to Model S, offering better steering feel and unobstructed views of your dash and the road ahead,” the brand says on its website. Yoke steering first appeared in concept cars in the 1960s, such as the Ford Aurora, but it was never been widely used until now.
Circular steering wheels have been the standard for nearly every car manufactured in the last century or so, and few people have complained, but Tesla thought yoke steering was important enough to include as standard equipment on the Model S and Model X. If you don’t like the unconventional steering setup, or if you’re sick of pretending to be a fighter pilot while driving your Tesla to the grocery store, Tesla has a new option for you. Expect it to be expensive.
According to Tesla’s website, a regular steering wheel without shifters or turn signal stalks can be retrofitted to your Model S or Model X for $700. The option will be available in March of this year, with the price including all applicable installation fees at a Tesla service center. If you polled automotive historians decades ago about what the future of cars would look like in 2023, they probably wouldn’t have predicted that a circular steering wheel would be a $700 option.
Tesla owners, such as tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee, aren’t thrilled with the option.
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According to Brownlee, the new steering wheel’s turn signals will be controlled by capacitive sensors.