After the recent Tesla Q4 2020 earnings report and call, arguably the biggest buzz was around the refreshed Model S and Model X. More specifically, the Model S Plaid got plenty of attention. However, the stories generating the most conversation seem to be centered on the new, updated steering yoke shown in the interior shots of the Model S.
Tesla has never really followed suit with legacy automakers. It does most things its own way. Often, when Elon Musk announces one of Tesla's crazy new ideas, fans and owners are excited. Meanwhile, many others immediately report that it will never happen, it won't work, it's crazy.
There are still people who insist the Tesla Cybertruck will be illegal, not to mention it will kill people with its sharp edges. The list of stories like this is long. While it's not fair to say that the skeptics are never right, Tesla often proves them wrong.
Once the new steering yoke was shown, people thought it was fake. Perhaps the image was just shared to get folks' attention, or maybe the vehicles will be available with a "normal" steering wheel, too. Well, it's not fake. Tesla plans on offering the yoke, but it may also offer a more traditional option.
At any rate, the steering yoke that looks like it might be used in an airplane got the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This happens often with the NHTSA. It's actually not likely that the NHTSA quickly discovered the yoke during Tesla's earnings call and immediately took action. Rather, people tipped of the NHTSA with their concerns, hoping to get a comment.
The organization told Roadshow it had reached out to Tesla for comment. It seems the organization doesn't yet have any idea if it would approve the yoke. The car's not even out yet, changes could happen between now and launch, and the NHTSA has much more critical issues to deal with that are happening now, not in the future.
With that said, Teslarati reported that there's no concern with the yoke in The Netherlands. The publication reported:
"In a statement to local media outlet RTL Nieuws, the Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer (RDW), which supervises vehicle and driving licensing, registration, and control in The Netherlands, revealed that the Model S and Model X refresh’s uniquely-shaped steering yoke would be allowed for public use."
The report went on to say that the shape of a steering wheel isn't restricted via any current legislation in The Netherlands. Moreover, it pointed out that the yoke's shape is already making its way into other vehicles already on the market. Flat-bottom steering wheels, and those of other shapes that aren't perfectly round, are already a reality.