NHTSA Questions Safety Of The 2021 Tesla Model S’ Yoke Steering Wheel

2021 Tesla Model S

The 2021 Tesla Model S comes equipped with a new unconventional yoke-style steering wheel, along with a new landscape touchscreen infotainment system

Tesla Inc. recently introduced the 2021 model year Model S sedan, and the updated version of the car has been equipped with a range of new amenities over the outgoing model. That being said, a new yoke-style steering wheel is also a part of the package, and the unconventional component is making headlines.

However, the 2021 Tesla Model S’ half steering wheel is actually raising brows, with critics questioning its safety as against a regular steering unit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), part of the US Department of Transportation, plans to have a world with Tesla regarding the yoke-style steering wheel.

The new yoke steering unit is rectangular in shape and Tesla has actually gotten rid of the upper half of the wheel. Hence, many have argued that the design is too dangerous for a passenger car. Hence, the new steering wheel design was quick to catch the feds’ attention, prompting a statement from the NHTSA.

2021 Tesla Model S-2

While the new yoke-style steering wheel looks really cool, it’d probably be a little too risky when the driver is making hand-over-hand turns, taking a U-turn or even parallel parking. Well, it looks like Tesla might actually be readying itself for this moment. Images found on Motortrend reveal that Tesla has already designed a traditional round steering wheel for the 2021 Model S.

Some images of the new Model S with a regular steering wheel were found within the source code of Tesla’s website, hinting that Tesla knew that the unconventional yoke-steering could draw criticism from fans, or even be banned by authorities. When questioned for more information, a spokesperson for NHTSA responded by saying ‘We will be reaching out to the automaker for more information’.

2021 Tesla Model S-3

It should be noted that the law isn’t actually clear regarding the shape of the steering system. It isn’t actually defined if the steering system must be a complete circle, and it’s only written that the control must comply with the crash standards. This means that NHTSA might be okay with the idea of Tesla Model S’ new yoke steering wheel, given that it satisfies impact safety regulations and has an airbag.