Tesla Model S and X – U-shaped steering yoke illegal?

A lot of people are probably used to Tesla’s unconventional antics by now. While excitement continues to swirl around the newly announced 2021 Model S and Model X Plaid, there is a particular feature that is somewhat questionable, and it’s a key one at that – the yoke steering wheel.

New for both the sedan and SUV is the U-shaped steering yoke with the top half of the rim literally missing. This has been seen on concept cars for decades, but none actually made it to production because of its impracticality. How would you park your car, or make U-turns when grabbing a fistful of air?

There’s only one way the yoke wheel will make it to production, and that is with a significantly quicker steering rack. Most race car steering wheels have a very narrow degree of travel (Formula One cars have a steering lock of 17 degrees), so to make the controversial steering wheel useable, the Model X and Model S will need to have a tighter travel window.

To shed light on the legality of the matter, Road & Track reached out to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), who replied: “At this time, [the] NHTSA cannot determine if the steering wheel meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. We will be reaching out to the automaker for more information.” Could it be that all this is just for show? Maybe. What do you think?

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