The popularity of the Tesla Model S Plaid has been astounding. The Plaid is so good that the upgrade, the Model S Plaid+, was decommissioned before the first vehicle was off the production line.
Tesla is making small changes to the beloved Model S as the new year approaches. To the dismay of some fans, a regular steering wheel will not be available for the new model.
Why did Tesla choose a steering yoke for the 2022 Model S Plaid?
The name for the Model S Plaid was inspired by the movie Spaceballs and emphasizes the car’s speed. According to CNN, the car has a Plaid Mode that offers extreme acceleration.
Because of this reputation, the vehicle has been viewed as more of a race car than an everyday vehicle. Tesla decided to keep the yoke for the 2022 model, and said that it offers better visibility of the instruments and control of the vehicle. Tesla is currently developing advanced steering but said that they’re still years away from completing a viable option.
Pros and cons of the yoke
Some critics have expressed concerns about how the shape of the yoke can make it harder to do things like recover from ice skids and avoid hydroplaning.
The yoke provides a better autopilot experience, but it can take a little time to get used to steering with it. The yoke offers touch-sensitive buttons for primary car functions like turn signals and headlights.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of the yoke compared to a regular steering wheel.
According to Motor Trend, the yoke keeps your hands perfectly placed in the nine and three o’clock position, where they should be.
The two pistol grips end in a comfortable nub that naturally positions your hands for the best feel and comfort. All the system controls including two additional scroll wheels are right at your fingertips. The left wheel lets you change the volume or the track, and the right one can be used to adjust your speed when Autopilot is on.
One of the biggest drawbacks is that there’s no top rim for the wheel, which you might instinctively grab at even if it’s not there.
The yoke, combined with the touchscreen shifter makes it hard to make multi-point turns and parallel park. Motor Trend found that the steering ratio isn’t quick enough to make low-speed maneuvers, which can be incredibly frustrating and inconvenient.
Electrek said that the yoke is better suited for weekend cars and race cars. The time that it takes an average driver to get used to the shape and size of the yoke could lead to a higher risk of accidents.
A regular steering wheel won’t be available
Regardless of whether customers like the yoke, Tesla said they have no plans to offer a traditional steering wheel for the new Model S Plaid.
Some aftermarket companies are looking to take advantage of this and develop third-party options for drivers who want to replace the Tesla yoke. For now, you can expect the 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid to only be available with the yoke.