Just when we thought that Tesla’s yoke saga was over, the company decided that it was time to revive the idea one more time. After the initial fiasco of the yoke itself, followed by Tesla’s surrender and introduction of a traditional round steering wheel, the world sighed with huge relief. The hope was restored that Tesla actually ate a humble pie and everything was back to normal.
No, this is Tesla we are talking about and nobody eats humble pie. First, the company introduced a retrofit option for those customers who already had either the Model S or Model X. That required shelling out an extra $700 and proved to be so popular that Tesla ran out of this option in 8 days.
This is the main problem wit Tesla’s yoke
With the recently updated Model S and Model X now reaching the first customers, Tesla dropped the yoke completely and the vehicles come with the round steering wheel as standard. At this point, it seemed the company learned its lesson, agreed with the customers that the yoke wasn’t the best idea, and moved on.
Well, the yoke is back. Tesla thought about it long and hard and decided that the best move forward is to bring back the yoke but this time to charge customers for it. Yes, you read this right – the yoke is a $250 option as of right now. Because when it was free, customers would non-stop complain about it but when they pay extra – they apparently won’t. And somehow charging $250 for it makes it less dangerous.
Quality of the yoke has been another problem
The yoke itself is not a bad idea, it actually is a development that we will see on many more cars in the future. But Tesla, so desperate in its need to bring the future closer, bolted the yoke to a hydraulic steering column. It’s like strapping a 12-inch screen to a donkey and telling the world it now has a Level 3 Autopilot.
To add some salt to injury, Lexus just released its electric RZ 450e with a yoke but the two implementations couldn’t be more different. Lexus uses steer-by-wire with a variable ratio steering rack – in plain English, it means the driver’s arms never need to cross. The car decides on the angle of steering depending on the speed, the slower you go the bigger angle. It’s simple and effective. Tesla’s implementation still is a painful mistake.
Lexus RZ 450e does yoke the right way
The whole issue of the yoke would have never come up if Tesla did deliver FSD as so many times promised. The driver’s inputs would be secondary and rare and with the car taking care of the steering, yoke would be a natural place for the driver to rest their hands. Yes, developing steer-by-wire costs huge amounts of money and takes a lot of time but the results can be revolutionary.
Tesla is turning from a revolutionary visionaire into a company that struggles to find a balance between promises and quality products. It is possible we wouldn’t have the electric car revolution without Tesla, or at least it wouldn’t be as advanced as it is now. But the company is struggling to separate its startup attitude from the reality of a mass-production automaker.