Tesla Model S and X bring back steering wheel option



Tesla Model S and Model X customers can again order a conventional steering wheel instead of Tesla’s unorthodox steering yoke.

Tesla’s online configurator now shows a steering wheel as a no-cost option alongside the yoke. It’s listed in the “Interior” section, where customers also select an upholstery color.

The yoke appeared in 2021 as part of a refresh of the Model S and Model X that also saw a switch to a Model 3-like horizontal central touchscreen, as well as the introduction of Plaid performance variants.

2022 Tesla Model S Plaid

2022 Tesla Model S Plaid

It was initially unclear if Tesla seriously planned to ship cars with the airplane-style steering instrument, but the first yoke-equipped cars were delivered to customers in June 2021. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one person’s impressions shifted quickly from liking the yoke to being frustrated with the awkward steering.

Awkward isn’t something you want in a car like the Model S Plaid, which packs a 1,020-hp three-motor powertrain and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in just under 2.0 seconds.

Despite the drawbacks, other automakers have jumped on the yoke bandwagon.

2022 Tesla Model S Plaid

2022 Tesla Model S Plaid

BMW applied for a yoke steering wheel patent in 2022. The design, which incorporated fold-away grips, frees up more space, BMW said in its patent application. The automaker hasn’t discussed plans to use this yoke in a production vehicle, however.

Lexus has actually taken that leap, adding a yoke to its RZ 450e electric crossover. Unlike other yoke applications, though, Lexus’ version was designed to be used with a steer-by-wire system, which we found worked quite well. The yoke and steer-by-wire system haven’t been confirmed for the U.S., however. The RZ 450e launches here as a 2023 model but with a conventional steering wheel.


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