New Steering Yoke in Tesla Model S May Not be Legal

The Tesla Model S and Model X have just received a major update and one of the things people keep talking about, obviously, is the aviation-inspired, yoke-style steering wheel.

Beyond aspects such as design and technology, one has to wonder: it is safe or even legal? Even authorities are asking the question.

In the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it cannot determine at this time if the steering wheel meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, which are mostly based on crash results. It will reach out to Tesla in the next few days for more information.

U.S. laws are rather vague about steering wheel requirements, including their shape. Even the NHTSA is aware of that. In fact, the agency uses the term “steering control system” instead of “steering wheel.”

Photo: Tesla

We searched through Transport Canada documents and couldn’t find anything specifically related to the design of a steering wheel for motor vehicles.

It seems like there’s nothing to prevent automakers such as Tesla from pushing the limits in that area. Incidentally, it’s the first time we are seeing a steering yoke in a production vehicle. With all those futuristic concepts unveiled in the past two decades and self-driving cars coming in a few years, it was bound to happen at some point, right?

A ruling by the NHTSA will likely be announced in the next few months. In the meantime, other images of the updated Model S and Model X show a more conventional steering wheel, so it appears Tesla and Elon Musk once again have more than one trick up their sleeves.

Share on Facebook

More on the subject

NewsTesla Unveils Refreshed Model S With Futuristic Interior
Tesla once again took the auto industry by surprise last night with the reveal of a major Model S update. While there are some cosmetic revisions on the outside, it’s the interior that changes the most, particularly with a new steering wheel that looks like it’s been cut in half …
ElectricThese Are the Most Satisfying EVs According to Owners
A large majority of people who own a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle —82 percent to be exact—say they “definitely will” consider purchasing another EV in the future, according to the inaugural J.D. Power U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience Ownership Study released today in collaboration with PlugShare. Nearly 10,000 owners of …
NewsToyota Boss Has Some Harsh Words About Tesla
Toyota president Akio Toyoda took a direct jab at Elon Musk and Tesla during a recent interview with Bloomberg , using a cooking analogy to compare the two companies’ offerings. "Tesla says that their recipe will be the standard in the future, but what Toyota has is a real kitchen …
NewsTesla’s Smart Shift and Touchscreen Shifter are Causing a Stir
It appears Tesla wants to reinvent the wheel, or at least most of the traditional controls found inside cars. Following the major update to the Model S and Model X announced in late January, much has been said about the proposed yoke-style steering wheel. We also discovered that the turn …
NewsTesla’s Switch From Radars to Cameras is Backfiring
UPDATE (06/29/2021):The Tesla Model 3 has regained its status as a Consumer Reports Top Pick and IIHS Top Safety Pick+ after independent tests proved the effectiveness of its new camera-based automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning systems. Below is the original story. Tesla ’s latest technological “advancement” is not …
NewsForget the Tesla Model S Plaid+, Elon Musk Says
Earlier this year, Tesla announced a major update to the Model S sedan and Model X crossover including the addition of two high-performance variants called Plaid and Plaid+. In the company’s latest twist, the Plaid+ has been nixed already. Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed the news via Twitter on Sunday.
NewsYes, You Can Have a Yoke in Your Tesla Model 3 or Y
One of the most talked-about new features of the freshly updated Tesla Model S and Model X is definitely the available yoke-style steering wheel. While U.S. regulators are still trying to determine whether it’s street-legal or not, the early reviews from customers are a mixed bag. Will it eventually land …
NewsHyundai Maintains Wild Idea of Putting Displays on Steering Wheels
Hyundai , just like many automakers, is working to improve the driving experience inside its vehicles by integrating the latest technologies and creating more of a digital space. However, one of its ideas is raising more questions than answers. According to a patent filed in Germany and discovered by CarBuzz …