Tesla has decided to make its controversial “yoke” steering wheel an option, and it is even asking for a $250 premium for it.
When Tesla unveiled the new Model S with the “yoke” butterfly steering wheel, it was controversial. Some were worried about the actual shape of the wheel being problematic, while others were concerned about the lack of a drive stalk to choose the drive mode.
As for the former, we thought that the automaker wouldn’t risk bringing the controversial yoke steering wheel to market without a nonlinear steering curve enabled by a steer-by-wire system – especially knowing that Tesla has been developing a steer-by-wire system.
However, as Tesla started deliveries of the new Model S Plaid last year, we were surprised to see that the wheel had a normal 14.0:1 steering ratio, and it is proving to be impractical at lower speeds.
There are even some driving scenarios where the butterfly not only becomes impractical but potentially dangerous.
For example, if you lose control on an icy road, it could be harder to do some quick maneuvers to regain control. CEO Elon Musk later confirmed that Tesla is indeed working on progressive steering, but it’s still years away.
As for the lack of stalks, Tesla replaced all of their functions with force touch buttons on the wheel, even for things like turn signals and the horn. Musk’s logic is that “all input is an error” and that the car should automatically perform all the functions that were on the stalks (now on the force touch buttons).
However, much like Tesla’s self-driving program, the capability is not quite there yet. Musk brushed off those concerns and indicated that the yoke would be the way forward as it offers “better visibility.”
But in February 2022, we started to see Tesla potentially offering the option of a round steering wheel and the back end of the configurator code, but nothing was offered all year.
Earlier this year, Tesla started to offer a regular round steering wheel to new buyers and even started to offer retrofits for existing buyers for $700.
Tesla has recently gone a step further and made the round steering wheel the standard option for the Model S and Model X, but both the round and yoke wheels were available at the same price.
Today, in an overnight update to its online configurator, Tesla has decided to add a $250 premium to the yoke steering wheel:
The reason behind the price difference is unclear, but it will certainly be interesting to see if people are willing to pay a premium for what Tesla, and Musk in particular, believe is a better product, though it is controversial amongst Tesla owners and fans.