Electric vehicle maker Tesla is reportedly preparing to release a redesigned version of its controversial yoke steering wheel for the Model S and Model X, aiming to address quality and usability issues with the current design.
New Yoke Expected This Fall
According to a Tesla service advisor, the company plans to begin offering an improved yoke steering wheel option starting in Fall of 2024. The new yoke will feature upgraded materials to address durability complaints about the current version.
Many Tesla owners have complained about the quality of the current yoke steering wheel, with some reporting the vegan leather material peeling off after just 10-15,000 miles of driving. Tesla has had to replace some customers’ yokes multiple times under warranty.
Possible Design Changes
In addition to higher quality materials, the new yoke is expected to include design tweaks to improve usability. Some drivers have complained the current yoke can be uncomfortable to rotate hand-over-hand for tight turns.
The redesigned yoke may take inspiration from the steering wheel Tesla showed off on the Cybertruck prototype at its March 2024 Investor Day. That steering wheel had a shape that was a hybrid between a traditional round wheel and a yoke, with a flat top and bottom.
Tesla also recently filed a patent application for a steer-by-wire system, which could allow the yoke to be tuned for more responsive steering. Electronic steer-by-wire steering would mean there is no mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the tires.
Model 3 Yoke Possible Too
There are also rumors Tesla may add a yoke option to the refreshed Model 3 sedan that is expected to be revealed soon under the codename Project Highland. Along with the potential for yoke steering, Project Highland may also bring an upgraded interior with features like matrix LED headlights, ambient interior lighting, and Tesla’s latest self-driving computer.
Customer Demand For Round Wheel
While Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been a big proponent of the yoke, customer demand for a normal round steering wheel has been strong. When Tesla made the round wheel an option for Model S and Model X vehicles earlier this year, the $700 retrofit kits sold out in about a week.
By improving both the design and quality of the yoke wheel, Tesla may be trying to convert more customers to the distinctive styling of the yoke. But the company learned the hard way not to force the yoke on unwilling buyers who overwhelmingly chose the classic round steering wheel when finally given the chance.