Tesla equipped the 2022 Model S with a yoke instead of a round steering wheel
Turn signal and horn controls are now touch sensitive buttons on the yoke
Quick steering maneuvers are more difficult to do than with a normal wheel
Tesla is trying to reinvent the (steering) wheel. The 2022 Model S is fitted with a yoke that is a rectangle with the top half removed.
According to Tesla, this design is inspired by Formula 1 race cars and planes. Its official purpose is to give the driver a better view of the screen that is behind it, but we suspect a major part of it is marketing.
The real-world benefits seem to be slim, since many people who tested it disliked the experience and said they would prefer a normal steering wheel, which isn’t even offered in the 2022 Model S.
The absence of a top half which drivers could grip during a turn complicates tight maneuvers since drivers have to move their hands much more than with a round wheel, especially since the steering ratio is the same as previously.
This raises questions regarding the safety of the Yoke, because avoiding an obstacle in an emergency situation could prove more difficult and slower.
Something else that fails to convince are the touch sensitive buttons that have replaced the turn signal stalk and the horn pad.
These switches require drivers to take their eyes off the road in order to press the correct button, and since they are on the yoke itself, the arrows point in the opposite direction when you have to signal in the middle of a turn, requiring more thought than seems reasonable.
The same goes for the horn button, which is a small switch that would probably be hard to find in most situations where the horn is necessary, although the driver can apparently cover all of the buttons on the right side of the yoke to blow the horn. We understand the potential safety benefits created by separating the horn from the airbag, but this doesn’t seem to be the optimal solution.
We should also mention that the 2022 Model S does not have a gear shifter anymore, drivers can select forward or reverse by sliding their fingers on the touch screen, but the car is supposed to be able to predict which gear it needs to be in. We don’t know how it can do that safely and reliably.
Is the yoke the way of the future? Tesla would like you to think so, but many are unconvinced.
Source: Consumer Reports (Youtube.com)