Tesla is known for being an electric car maker that always pushes the envelope forward, whether it’s on the deployment of its Autopilot driver-assist system or its use of a 15” display in the Model 3. With the release of the Model S and Model X refresh, Tesla has once more raised eyebrows over its vehicles’ design, this time due to the flagship EVs’ steering “yoke.”
The Tesla Model S and Model X refresh features a steering yoke that looks almost like it was designed for an aircraft, with a flat bottom and no top. This, unsurprisingly, caught the ire of critics, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) telling Roadshow last Friday that it has reached out to Tesla about its use of a “yoke” instead of a traditional steering wheel.
This issue does not seem to exist in The Netherlands. 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 shape of the steering wheel is not prescribed anywhere in EU or UNECE legislation,” the authority said.
Explaining further, the RDW noted that rectangular elements in vehicles’ steering systems are already making their way into the market, with many cars now having a steering wheel with a flat bottom. Such a design actually makes it more convenient to access a vehicle, which may be a reason why there could be more flat-bottomed, if not differently-shaped, steering systems in the future.
“Many cars already have a flattened steering wheel at the bottom. Not only does this make getting in easier, but it’s also easier to recognize which position the steering wheel is in. The tendency is that more and more vehicles will have rectangular steering wheels in the future. The number of revolutions from far left to far right is also unregulated. If this is only from -90 to +90 degrees, there is no reason why you have to have an upper rim. Then two handles will suffice,” the RDW said.
Overall, the vehicle authority remarked that legislation currently specifies “steering control” systems as requirements, not a “steering wheel,” which means that there is ample space for automakers to be more creative with their vehicles’ controls. “The legislation deliberately speaks of ‘steering control’ instead of ‘steering wheel.’ Space is deliberately left for alternative forms,” the RDW said.
Needless to say, it appears that Tesla’s steering yoke for the Model S and Model X refresh are a definite go for The Netherlands.
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