Tesla has re-introduced a round steering wheel option for its Model S and Model X vehicles, following two years of criticism regarding the practicality and safety of the racing-style yoke steering. As noted by electric, the Tesla online configurator for the Model S/X was updated on Thursday, adding the option for a round steering wheel alongside the existing yoke. Selecting the rounded wheel option doesn’t impact the price or the estimated delivery timeline. Other Tesla models such as the Model 3 and Model Y are already available with a round steering wheel.
A controversial redesign for both the Model S and Model X in 2021 ditched the traditional steering wheel (and control stalks) in favor of a single yoke option with capacitive buttons. The decision was met with mixed reactions — while some users believed the yoke to be a safety risk, others praised it for providing a clearer view of the vehicle’s dashboard.
In his review of the Model S Plaid, YouTuber Marques Brownlee similarly praised the yoke for its handling abilities and space-saving design. However, Brownlee found its capacitive touch controls to be unreliable, especially for the turn signals, noting that the buttons were often unresponsive. “Sometimes I will try for 10 seconds in a row to press all over this thing and it straight up won’t work.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk justified the redesign in a tweet, saying “Yet another round wheel is boring & blocks the screen. FSD in panoramic mode looks way better with a yoke.” Musk also rejected requests from customers to include a rounded wheel option for the Model S and Model X in 2021.
While this decision has now been walked back, images of the rounded wheel option on the Tesla site don’t appear to show any control stalks returning with it. Instead, there are buttons on the wheel similar to those that appear on the yoke.