You may have started seeing reports that Tesla is now "offering" a round steering wheel for its refreshed Model S and Model X vehicles. While this is true, those stories really should say that the round steering wheel is now standard. In fact, when you configure the EVs on Tesla's website, it defaults to the round wheel. If you want the yoke, you have to choose it, though it doesn't cost extra.
Many people have complained about the Model S' yoke ever since the refreshed flagship vehicle and high-performance Plaid version came to market. While many have admitted that they eventually got used to it (they didn't have much choice), many certainly weren't thrilled about it. Some drivers and publications even went so far as to say it could be a safety concern. The updated Model X SUV eventually arrived with only a yoke as well.
On the flip side, the yoke was definitely unique, and some people who tried it thought it was fun. They seemed excited to have a Tesla that looked more like a race car. However, regardless of anyone's opinions about the yoke, it arguably would have made sense if Tesla at least gave buyers the option between a round steering wheel or a yoke. Some folks even reached out to CEO Elon Musk with such a request, though he shot it down.
Now, Tesla has once again surprised people by quietly adding the round steering wheel as the standard default for both the Model S and Model X. We figured perhaps the Plaid versions would default to the yoke, but they also come standard with the traditional steering wheel. It seems Tesla is really working hard these days to provide every opportunity to get new buyers into its vehicles.
The reason for the yoke may have been at least partly due to the novelty and the discussion/controversy it would create. However, it also ensures there's no obstacle in front of the driver that could make it more difficult to see the gauge cluster. Plus, it keeps the driver's hands at "9 and 3." Musk also mentioned that as Tesla's vehicles become more and more automated, the driver won't need to provide as much input, so the yoke is sort of a look at the future.
At any rate, let us know if you imagined this would eventually happen. Do you like the yoke? Do you think it's generally a bad idea? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.