The Model S Yoke Is Here to Stay Because Musk Likes It and He Knows Best

Tesla Model S Plaid yoke hand positioning 1 photo
Photo: OCDetailing / YouTube screenshot
Thanks to the impeccable communication on the part of Tesla's PR department, people knew exactly what to expect of the new Model S Plaid before its release. Since this is written and I can't see your reaction (or know whether you're aware there is no PR department), I feel like I have to point out that was sarcasm.
Well, we all knew about its performance, and apparently, that's all that matters to the average Model S buyer, even though a lot of them will probably only ever use half of its potential throughout the vehicle's lifetime, and that just to impress their friends (and potentially convert them to Tesla or EVs).

Other bits about the car, however, were lost in translation. For instance, it was believed the new S would not require the use of a gear selector as the car was supposed to know which way you want/need to go and put it in D or R by itself. Cool if it works, a bit frustrating if it doesn't, right? Well, it later (read after people took delivery of their cars and made it very clear to everyone) transpired the S only does that once per trip, when you first set out. Was the communication misleading, meant to make the car seem more capable? We can't know if there was any intent behind it, but it sure turned out that way.

As for the Yoke, again, people assumed Tesla wouldn't be mad enough to release it without doing something about the steering ratio (that is despite the fact it removed the radar sensor on the cars it was selling before sorting out the software for the "vision only" Autopilot).

Turning that damn thing more than 180 degrees each way would be a massive pain in the butt, not to mention potentially dangerous in a sketchy situation where you're scrambling to regain control of the vehicle, only to grab a handful of air as you reach for the steering wheel you've grown accustomed to over the many years of driving, only to realize it's not there anymore because Musk thought it would be cool.

If you know the Tesla CEO by now, you're well aware he's not going to come out and say, "I was wrong, the yoke was a bad decision, you'll be able to order the S with a regular steering wheel from next month". If anything, he'll only dig down deeper in his attempt to show everyone how wrong we are.

It's already started. In response to a tweet asking about progressive steering ratio (what we all assume and expected the Model S Plaid to have), Mr. Musk revealed he's more than happy with the yoke, a system he's been using "for a while". Actually, he called it "great" (see full tweet below), but then again Elon Musk's driving skills have been called into question before, so perhaps he shouldn't base his decisions on his own experience.

Do you know who he could have asked before releasing the car like this? Randy Pobst. The insanely experienced racing driver was already in Tesla's backyard as he works closely with the guys at Unplugged Performance, and we're sure he would have gladly helped with the development of the Plaid. And, judging by what happened after just three laps of the Laguna Seca with the new electric sedan and its yoke (he asked for a normal steering wheel), we all know what Randy's recommendation would have been.

Then again, a round steering wheel wouldn't have generated so much media coverage, so from Elon's point of view, his decision was probably worth it. As for progressive steering, Musk says it will be coming in "a few years". Since "Musk years" are closer to "dog years" than our own, I wouldn't hold our breath over it.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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