Tesla Model S Plaid Has a Yoke in Place of The Steering Wheel

The new Tesla Model S Plaid is in town and the car is a newsmaker and a hot conversation topic among car enthusiasts. This is mostly because of the level of refinement the model has undergone. Though the Plaid is a show-stopper in terms of performance, there is one aspect about which Tesla fans are concerned…Not all of them but a large chunk of them.

Yes, it’s the steering yoke they have introduced.

But before that, take a look at the new Tesla Model S Plaid.

It is Pretty Much The Same Except For…

The new Plaid doesn’t differ much from the Tesla Model S. It is still a four-door sedan and in appearance, a noticeable change is that they have taken the chromium lining from the windows. The interior has become a bit more simple without losing its elegance. The improvement in the fit and finish brought into the interior is also noticeable.

You get a 17-inch screen neatly placed in a landscape position and a modular cup holder below that… I am pretty sure that a lot of thought has gone into that.

The performance department performs well. The Plaid takes just 1.99 seconds to reach 0-60 MPH. Yeah, we know electric cars are capable of doing that but the car only takes 4.71 seconds to reach 60-130 MPH that’s a drastic change from the Model S 2019 which took 9.45 seconds to reach that kind of speed.

Enough with the praises, we all know what Tesla is capable of and now, let us take a glance at the elephant in the room or shall I say, the yoke in the cockpit.

The Tesla Yoke

The new Tesla Model S Plaid has a yoke instead of a steering wheel and it is receiving mixed reactions and feedbacks from all around the globe by Tesla fans and tesla critiques( I don’t know if anyone is there but I am kind of one).

First things first: is it legal?

According to the NHTSA, existing federal FMVSS regulations do not prohibit “non-circular steering controls,” as defined by the federal government. But, Manufacturers are responsible for certifying compliance and ensuring that vehicles meet all safety standards. As a result, Tesla would have had to do further due diligence to ensure that the design fulfilled the same safety requirements expected from the conventional steering wheel.

Now that the legal concern is sorted out, let us discuss some of the practical problems.

Scifi v/s Practicality.

The yoke is a bit wider and is square around the corners. It has a few touch-sensitive buttons on it and these buttons cause the main problem because they are activated by touch. The buttons will get activated even when you accidentally brush your hands over them while taking a corner and it can be very annoying.

When the famous tech-reviewer Marques Brownlee or MKBHD raised this concern, Elon Musk tweeted that,

“Good review & Fair critique

In general with interfaces, all input is error, with each software update, the car’s intuition will get better. You will need to press buttons less & less & it will know when to ignore accidental button presses.”

And Elon’s reply was a ‘NO’ for the possibility of a round steering wheel asked on Twitter.


Here, once again Tesla is trying to redefine the driving style of men. It might take a while to re-write the muscle memory we developed over the years. On a personnel note, I don’t see a logical reason behind this ‘yoking’. The only advantage they can claim is the improved visibility of the screen in the dashboard.

It still raises a lot of concerns like,

How to move the steering wheel quickly at parking-lot speeds? or 

What happens if power assist fails?

How will airbags be deployed?. 

Although a pyrotechnic device provides initial inflate and impact support, the steering-wheel rim aids in maintaining the bag’s placement for subsequent loads. These are a few real concerns raised by Tesla fans and the auto-experts and Tesla should be able to address these concerns in a Tesla way.