Elon Musk says progressive steering, which would solve some of the steering wheel issues, is still a few years away.
When Tesla unveiled the new Model S with the “Yoke” butterfly steering wheel, it was controversial.
Knowing that Tesla was developing a wired steering system, we figured the automaker wouldn’t take the risk of bringing the controversial fork-mounted steering wheel to market without a non-linear steering curve activated by a wired steering system.
However, as Tesla started shipping the new Model S Plaid last week, we were surprised to see that the wheel had a normal steering ratio of 14.0: 1, and this proves impractical at low speeds:
There are even driving scenarios where the butterfly becomes not only impractical but even potentially dangerous.
For example, if you lose control on an icy road, it may be more difficult to perform a few quick maneuvers to regain control.
Commenting on the new wheel, CEO Elon Musk said that “it’s great,” and he confirmed that a gradual steering curve won’t come for at least a few years:
“I’ve been riding under the yoke for a while and it’s great in my opinion. Progressive steering would require complex gear or wire drive without a direct mechanical link. I will aim for this in a few years.
It looks like Tesla’s new wire steering system won’t be ready for a few years, and therefore you can only expect incremental steering system improvements by then.
Musk also didn’t answer the question about Tesla offering an optional round steering wheel despite the existing product since it was spotted on prototypes leading up to the Model S Plaid launch.
What about the Cybertruck and the Roadster?
This makes some people nervous because it’s not just about the new Model S.
If Musk likes the new steering wheel, and Tesla also unveiled a yoke-style steering wheel on the Cybertruck and Roadster prototypes, that will likely be the automaker’s future.
Current steering systems would have the same issues with the Cybertruck and the Roadster in addition to others, especially the Cybertruck.
You can expect the same issues at low speed and for parking situations to be magnified for the Cybertruck when towing and parking when towing.
I’m really torn about this because I think it looks awesome, and it definitely looks like a better high-speed solution.
But the question is: is it worth the drawbacks at low speeds?
What’s crazy to me is that you can make everyone happy here just by offering a round steering wheel option and then people can answer that question on their own.
If Tesla doesn’t, I hear some aftermarket accessory makers are already working on it.
That said, I’m still surprised Tesla decided to pull the trigger here without a progressive steering solution.
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