Wednesday, August 4, 2021
News It’s Official: Tesla’s Shift Control Is Not Illegal

It’s Official: Tesla’s Shift Control Is Not Illegal

Tesla’s removed the shifter stalk from the steering column and replaced it with a “shift control configuration”


  • This is according to the NHTSA.

  • More specifically, it’s not illegal “at this time.”


It’s been handed to Elon Musk countless times in the past and we’ll do it again: The man knows how to get everyone to talk about Tesla without spending any dollars. Earlier this year, Tesla updated the Model S and Model X and some of the changes got everyone talking. As we always do…

2021 Tesla Model S | Photo: Tesla

One of the main objects of “curiosity” is the now absent shifter which has been replaced by the new Shift Control Configuration. The “shifter” is now located on the central screen and many think it could pose a safety issue. In fact, many think or thought that it might be illegal.

According to The Verge, this gear selector operated through the touchscreen does not, for the moment, go against any established rules. The NHTSA responded to The Verge with the following answer:

Updated Tesla Model S And X Have A New “Shifter”

“NHTSA is aware of the touch screen shift control Tesla developed for its Model S and other vehicles. A properly configured transmission shift control operated by means of a touch screen interface would not violate federal motor vehicle safety standards. Also, Tesla has certified compliance with all applicable safety standards. At this time, there are no known compliance concerns related to the shift control configuration.”

And that the key point here is “At this time.” Tesla is under investigation for a number of incidents and various issues.

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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