Tesla To Launch a New Steering Yoke With "Improved Materials" in July

Tesla to launch a new steering yoke 7 photos
Photo: @MatthewDR via Twitter | Edited
Tesla Model S and Model X owners can now retrofit a round steering wheelService center messageTesla Model S steering yokeTesla owners share on Twitter that steering yokes are already peeling offTesla owners share on Twitter that steering yokes are already peeling offTesla owners share on Twitter that steering yokes are already peeling off
Tesla pushed the steering yoke in the automotive space with the launch of the refreshed Model X and Model S in 2021. Not everyone was a fan, and a steering wheel retrofit offered for cars delivered with a yoke proved popular. Now Tesla announced it would provide an improved version of the controversial steering yoke this summer.
Elon Musk opened a worm can when he announced that the Model S Plaid launched in 2021 would have a yoke instead of a steering wheel. Many of his followers swore that driving with a yoke was better than with a wheel. Even today, many say they would never go back to using a steering wheel after driving with a yoke for so long. And yet, when Tesla offered a steering wheel retrofit for cars initially delivered with the squarish contraption, it proved popular.

Die-hard fans might love the yoke, but regular folks, comprising a healthy majority, jumped at the retrofit opportunity like there was no tomorrow. The round steering wheel stock lasted only a week before the retrofit sold out. Tesla appeared to have replenished the stock, and the wheel was again available to order at the time of writing.

The controversy surrounding the steering yoke mainly concerns how uncomfortable it feels to be rotated from lock to lock. Most drivers need to do that when maneuvering in tight spaces, and quickly turning the square yoke is not as good as spinning a wheel. But another problem with the steering yoke annoys even the most ardent of its fans. The vegan material covering it is peeling off after about 10-15K miles. We're unsure whether this is happening because of its shape or because the material is lower quality than on the round wheels.

What is certain is that many Model S/X owners are already at their third yoke replaced under warranty. This has gotten annoying even for Tesla, I suppose, because some owners have been notified that no free-of-charge swap would be offered anymore until a new design is available. According to a service advisor message shared on Reddit, a new yoke with improved materials would be available in July. It is unclear whether "improved" only means better materials or better shape too.

During the 2023 Investor Day, a Tesla Cybertruck prototype on display featured a new, squarish steering wheel. Some people still call it a yoke, although it's nothing but. Similarly shaped steering wheels have been in service on various BMW models, including the i3 and the iX. If Tesla uses this type of steering wheel for the Cybertruck, it makes sense to also use it for other models. It could be the best of both worlds, so offering it as a replacement would be wise.

Now, if only Tesla would bring back the stalks. This is now the most requested feature, next to having the horn button in the middle of the steering wheel, as most cars do. Based on social media reactions, the steering wheel buttons just don't cut it.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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